In a mere two years Australia has fallen from a ranking of 4th to 37th in supporting clean energy to combat climate change. Dr Anthony Horton reports.
According to the 2014 Global Green Economy Index (GGEI) report, Australia’s leadership efforts with respect to climate change has seen it ranked last out of 60 countries. The index, which was first published in 2010, measures the green economic performance of each country based on four components- leadership and climate change, efficiency sectors, markets and investment and environment and natural capital. According to the GGEI, Australia’s ranking is largely due to factors including negative media coverage, “nonconstructive behaviour” in international forums and overall poor performance in climate change.
In terms of actions that support clean energy and combat climate change, Australia was ranked 37th, which represents a dramatic fall from the 4th rank attained only two years ago. To put this rank of 37th into perspective, developing countries Kenya and Rwanda were ranked 17th and 27th respectively. As a result of Australia’s performance, it was placed in a bracket with Japan, the Netherlands and the United States as countries where their perceived green economic performance dramatically exceeded their actual performance measured by the GGEI. The report concluded that Australia’s poor result meant that much needed attention should be devoted to the areas identified above (eg. media coverage, poor climate change performance), and that as a nation, Australia should build on its strong performance with respect to markets and investment (eg. cleantech innovation and commercialisation).
The GGEI report has at least one interesting parallel to the 2014 Global Innovation Index report I discussed in a previous blog, which ranked Australia highly in terms of expenditure on research and development (13th) but much lower in terms of knowledge and technology outputs (31st) and the communication of these outputs (78th). With each report that is published and as a pattern emerges in terms of the conclusions and recommendations of these reports, one would think that it should make our political leaders take notice of the change in how Australia is perceived as a global citizen, not just the change in how Australia’s environmental performance is perceived. This is particularly poignant given that in previous blogs I have discussed technologies that are being implemented in Australia without Government support despite proven track records around the world spanning more than 30 years.
This article was first published on Dr Horton’s blog.
Dr Anthony Horton is an Environmental Professional with extensive knowledge of Western Australian and Commonwealth Environmental Protection legislation and its application in the State Government Department of Environment and Conservation and the mining industry in WA.