Carbon emissions likely to level off by 2020, performance index shows

Findings attribute slowdown to China’s changing policies

China’s contribution is slowing down due to ‘heavy investments’ in renewable energy and moves to curb smog in its major cities. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer

China’s contribution is slowing down due to ‘heavy investments’ in renewable energy and moves to curb smog in its major cities. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer

Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 01:00


Record global carbon emissions are now expected to level off by 2020, largely as a result of changing policies in China – the world’s biggest emitter – according to the latest analysis by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe.

Their annual Climate Change Performance Index, which covers 61 countries collectively responsible for most carbon dioxide emissions, notes that the growth in China’s contribution is slowing down due to “heavy investments” in renewable energy and moves to curb smog in its major cities.

New findings by PBL-Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency also suggest a slowdown in the increase in global CO2 emissions, with the energy-related contribution growing about two-thirds less in 2012 than in previous years – mainly due to a “decoupling” of emissions from GDP growth.

Once again, the performance index leaves the first three places vacant as “no single country is yet on track to prevent dangerous climate change”, leaving Denmark in the lead (in fourth), followed by Britain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Malta, France, Hungary and Ireland (12th).


Transformation
Among EU states most affected by the economic crisis, Portugal “continued to use the crisis as an opportunity for transformation” while Greece “has almost totally abandoned all climate policies under the effects of the crisis and the troika’s economic control”, the authors say.

“The EU has given up the leading role . . . as well as its position as a frontrunner in the implementation of climate protection on the national level,” they claim. Germany has dropped out of the top 10, mainly due to a “drastic reduction” in the ambitions of its government.

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