Australia second worst on climate change: report

Water vapour flowing from Victoria's Hazlewood coal-fired power station. Australia has slipped in global rankings for action on climate change. (AAP)

Australia sits second last on the Climate Change Performance Index following the repeal of climate change policies, say its authors.

Australia is the worst performing industrial country for action on climate change, and the second worst country from 61 covered in a new report.

The release of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) for 2015 coincides with climate talks in Peru, which Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is reported to be attending against the Prime Minister’s wishes.

The CCPI - a joint report by Germanwatch and the European Climate Action Network - blames changes to government policy for a drop in the ranking.

Australia sits just ahead of the oil-exporting nation Saudi Arabia, which is in last place.

Chief counsellor at the Australian Climate Institute, Tim Flannery, said Australia had lost three years' worth of gains since the repeal of the Carbon Tax.

"We're one of the highest per capita polluters on the planet, overall we're the 15th largest polluter and we're starting to go backwards," Mr Flannery said.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt was contacted for comment. 

A spokesperson from the minister's office referred to Australia's success at meeting the 1997 Kyoto Protocol targets, and spruiked the government's $2.5 billion Direct Action policy.

"Australia has been one of the few nations to actually achieve its emissions reduction targets to date," the spokesperson said.

However, Australia could fail to meet its target of 2020 five per cent emissions reduction, with carbon emissions rising since the abolition of the Carbon Tax, Reuters reported in September.

The CCPI report would not rank any country in places one, two or three since, “No country is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change,” the report said.

The index has ranked Denmark as the best international performer on climate changes, citing "ambitious renewable energy and emissions reduction policies."

"The country sets an example of in how industrialised countries can not only promise, but also implement effective climate protection policies," the report says.

On the improve, India has risen five places on the index with low level per capita emission. India's president recently announced a new program to boost the profile of renewable energy, but the report notes that the coal sector also continues to expand.

China's efficiency scores are also improving. The index states that a decline in emission growth together with a boost in renewable energy investments has equalled an improvement in the rankings.

"On the downside, China continues to invest in unsustainable large-scale waterpower projects and plans to build many new nuclear power stations," the report says.

Overall, the report states that for the 10th year running, a new record has been set in global energy related CO2 emissions.

Yesterday, World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim called on a comprehensive agreement next year in Paris that would require all countries to put a price on carbon, end fossil fuel subsidies, spend more on renewable energy and invest in projects that can withstand the force of extreme storms.

“We have the opportunity in Paris to make clear our collective ambition,” Kim said.

Source SBS

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