COP26: Climate Change Performance Index ranks Australia last for policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison returned home from the summit after two days of leader's talks. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Prime Minister Scott Morrison returned home from the summit after two days of leader's talks. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Australia has ranked last for its climate policy among more than 60 nations in a global performance report released at COP26 on Tuesday.

The annual climate change performance index put Australia's policy decisions behind China, the world's biggest emitter of fossil fuel, as well as the other 56 countries and the European Union which together generate 90 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia's overall ranking - which takes policy, emissions, renewable energy and energy use into account - slipped four spots from 2020.

It is now ranked ahead of only Korea, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan.

The report, released at the climate conference in Glasgow by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute and the Climate Action Network, ranked Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and Morocco as the five best-ranked nations on the index.

Australian Conservation Foundation manager Gavan McFadzean said while 130 countries had lifted their near term climate ambition, Australia had not, relegating the country to the bottom of the pack with the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"Although renewable energy is booming in Australia, all the work has been done by state and territory governments and the private sector, which is why Australia is rock bottom on the table of national climate policies," Mr McFadzean said.

"The Australian government's refusal to budge on 2030 targets has been widely criticised in Glasgow and is out of step with public opinion at home with a major poll this year showing a majority of Australians, in every federal seat, wants stronger climate action this decade."

Former Australian government climate negotiator and climate program director at the Australian Institute Richie Merzian said this year's climate change performance index ranking was proof nobody had fallen for the Morrison government's fraud of a net-zero plan.


"Australia tries to deflect its own inaction by pointing to other high-emitting countries, yet our ranking on this index shows that we are doing much worse than the countries we like to point the finger at on climate," Mr Merzian said.

"COP26 was squarely focused on increasing short-term action and the Australia government won't even consider improving its weak, dated emission reduction target for 2030.

"No wonder Australia is slipping further in the global rankings."

This story Australia ranks last for climate policy among world's biggest emitters first appeared on The Canberra Times.