Winners and losers in the race to meet the Paris climate goals

Date: 19/06/2018

A new ranking shows how European countries stack up on climate protection. How does your country compare?

The Paris Agreement to limit climate change signed in 2015 had countries committing to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — anything beyond could cause catastrophic effects, scientists warn.

And although countries have had two and a half years to put in place policies on the ground to help get them to their targets, few have done so. A ranking published Monday by the environmental group Climate Action Network shows this is the case even in Europe, the world’s supposed leader in fighting climate change.

“While all European Union countries signed up to the Paris Agreement, most are failing to work towards delivering on its objectives,” says CAN director Wendel Trio.

The ranking, which finds that no country is performing well enough if you look at both ambition and progress, comes at a decisive moment: The EU is preparing its long-term strategy for the next United Nations climate change summit, to be held in Poland in November.

A coal country, Poland is set to host the COP24 climate summit in 2018

Through Tuesday, Berlin is hosting 35 ministers from around the world for its yearly Petersberg Climate Dialogue, while later this week, Brussels will host a ministerial with Canada and China to discuss ambition around emissions reduction.

But even as these summits take place, Belgium and Germany have been ranked as “bad” by the report. “It’s becoming very clear these days that Germany has gone from being world champion in climate action to a third division team,” says Hermann Ott from the German League for Nature.

Opening the Petersberg forum in Berlin this morning, German environment minister Svenja Schulze acknowledged the problems. “It is bitter for me to admit that Germany will fail to meet the target we set for ourselves for 2020,” she said. “Germany’s goal has always been to be a pioneer in international climate policy.”

Schulze went on promise that she would “work very hard to attain this goal.”

Where does your country stand? CAN grouped countries into three groups: “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Countries are ranked against a theoretical “number one” country with a 100 percent rating — a spot currently occupied by no country.

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