Australia is among the bottom four nations who did the least this year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming, two European pressure groups said in a report on Monday.
In its fifth annual Climate Protection Index, the Climate Action Network and Germanwatch ranked the 57 countries responsible for 90 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions according to their anti-pollution efforts.
The index is based on three factors: the current level of CO2 emissions, whether they are rising or falling, and political and regulatory efforts for climate protection.
Brazil, Sweden and Britain turned in the best performance of the group, the report said, using data primarily gathered by the International Energy Agency.
But the climate watchdogs left the three top spots unfilled due to what they said was a universal failure to make the kind of fundamental changes necessary to avert a climate disaster.
“Once again, no country in the world embarked on the path of avoiding dangerous climate change,” the report said.
Brazil thus claimed fourth place, overtaking traditional front-runner Sweden, thanks in part to a sharp drop in emissions due to the global economic downturn. After Sweden and Britain came Germany, France and India.
China and the United States – the world’s top two emitters – scored poorly in the ranking at 52 and 53 although the authors of the study hailed “the beginning of a rethink in climate policy” under US President Barack Obama.
The United States had ranked 58th last year.
Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada and Saudi Arabia brought up the rear of the current list due to what the report said were a pattern of high emissions and little change in climate policy.