Canada fell from 58th to 61st spot in the latest Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), released this week during the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, with its current climate performance and 2030 targets well below what would be consistent with a 2.0°C limit on average global warming.
This year’s edition of the annual analysis by the non-profit Germanwatch gives Canada a “very low” rating for greenhouse gas performance and targets, renewable energy deployment, and per capita energy use, and a low rating for climate policies operating at the national and international levels. It places the country in a “very low” category of global climate laggards that includes Algeria, Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
[Disclosure: The Energy Mix Publisher Mitchell Beer was one of several climate community observers who contributed to the Germanwatch research.]
Denmark takes top spot in Germanwatch’s global assessment of countries’ climate progress, but only shows up in fourth place, with the top three positions left intentionally blank.
“No country performs well enough in all CCPI index categories to achieve an overall very high rating,” so “the first three positions in the overall ranking therefore remain empty,” the Bonn- and Berlin-based organization writes. “This says a great deal. Even if all countries were as committed as the current frontrunners, it would still not be enough to prevent dangerous climate change.”
The landing page for the report adds that “the countries with high rankings also have no reason to ease up. Even greater efforts and actions by governments are needed to set the world on track to keep global warming well below a 2°C increase. Even better, 1.5°C.”
The Canadians who contributed comments to the CCPI assessment pointed to the country’s new 2050 net-zero target, its carbon pricing system, and its relatively new commitments to reduce fossil fuel subsidies and cap oil and gas emissions as signalling a “significant shift in climate ambition,” Germanwatch writes. But not in time to bring up its ranking in this year’s index.
“The experts emphasize the oil and gas industry as the major block to more ambitious climate policy,” the CCPI country profile states. “The crosscutting nature of energy policy in federal and provincial politics serves as a barrier to better policy-making. Although Canada is working to phase out coal (and will not approve new thermal coal mines), it plans to support and encourage deployment of fossil fuel-based carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen. The experts believe more should be done to promote renewables, deep energy retrofits for buildings, and electrification of transport, with a shorter-term commitment to decarbonizing the electricity grid in the 2030s.”