Portugal is closer to the top 10 countries with the best climate score
Portugal improved its performance within a ranking that includes 59 countries. However, it lags behind oil, gas and coal producing countries
Portugal improved its position in the Climate Change Performance Index. It was, in the table for 2023, in 14th place, among 59 countries, above the 16th conquered in the previous year.
Portugal improved in polluting gas emissions, which are now assessed as being at an average level, allowing this category to climb 16 places compared to the previous year. The country’s ranking is also average on the three criteria that are evaluated: energy use, renewable energy and climate policy.
Ceasing the use of coal for electricity production in 2021 was a “huge improvement”. With regard to climate policy, despite the reinforcement of the Climate Law, this “ambitious care in some aspects”, for example, the forecast that fossil fuel deposits will only end in 2030. It is also pointed out that emissions related to transport continues to increase despite planned investments in public transport. The lack of support to expand sustainable agriculture or to prevent forest fires is also criticized.
Renewable energy ranks “high” but “more decentralized solar energy is needed,” reads the report. Initiatives to decarbonize the electricity sector and promote energy efficiency are also mandatory. These estimates were authored by Francisco Ferreira and Pedro Nunes from Zero, and Laura Carvalho from Quercus, who collaborated in the elaboration of the Index.
Nobody deserves the podium
This index has a peculiarity: the first three places, the only ones that correspond to a “very high” performance, are empty. This is because they are reserved for countries whose performance is compatible with the objective of keeping global warming below 1.5ºC, and none of the evaluated countries fit this compatibility. The country with the best ranking, Denmark, appears in fourth place, in the same category as Portugal, that is, both have a “high” performance.
Both Denmark and Sweden remained in the highest places, which they already occupied in the previous year. Denmark is committed to a 70% reduction in pollutant emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and stands out for its performance in terms of emissions, renewable energy and climate policy, although when it comes to the use of energy takes 26th place. The Nordic country is applauded for introducing a new carbon tax in June 2022, but criticized for betting “too much” on carbon capture, the report indicates.
Close behind, Sweden, also ranks highly in the category of polluting emissions and renewable energy, but climate policy already only receives an average score and energy use is at the “very low” level.
Large fossil producers are highly ranked
At the level of “high” performance, there are also three countries that are, at the same time, in the group of the largest producers of oil, gas and coal. They are India, Norway and the United Kingdom, which are in eighth, tenth and 11th places, respectively. All ahead of Portugal
India “benefits from lower levels of emissions and energy use per capita very low, and has also invested in renewable energies”, justifies Zero. The country scores “average” on climate policy, despite planning to increase fossil fuel production by 2030.
In the report, it is evident that Norway performs “very high” in renewable energy, which represents more than 50% of the country’s energy production. Pollutant emissions and ecological policy want an “average” score. There is a “very high” carbon tax for several sectors and support for the acquisition of electric cars. But there are still no plans to stop the demand for oil and gas, in fact, the plan is to increase gas production by 5% by 2030.
Finally, the UK scores high on emissions and energy use, followed by an ‘average’ score on renewable energy. The plan is to double the use of renewable energy in 15 years and end the sale of vehicles to diesel by 2030. But it also has no plans to end fossil fuel generation and continues to subsidize them.
China and the United States meet at the bottom of the table
Among the worst performers is China, which dropped even 13 places. It is in 51st place, still above the United States, which occupies the 53rd. China “has shown strong development in renewable energies, but has invested in coal-fired power plants” and plans to increase gas and coal production compared to 2019, by 5%, by 2030. “Due to new investments in coal-fired power plants, China recorded the biggest drop of all in the ranking”, says Zero, in a statement.
The United States ranks “very low” on almost every criterion: emissions, renewables and energy use. Only climate policy deserves an “average” in the report, and supports the country’s rise in the table.