Ireland ranked worst EU country for tackling climate change

11th December 2018

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Hope Steadman

Ireland is doing the least of all EU member states to tackle climate change, a new ranking has revealed, although no country is taking sufficient action to deliver the Paris Agreement.

Launched at the Cop 24 summit in Poland, the Climate Change Performance Index 2019 ranks Ireland 48th out of 56 countries worldwide, up one place from last year.

The top three positions are unoccupied to reflect that no nation is doing enough to limit global warming to 1.5˚C, with Sweden ranked highest in 4th place, the UK 8th and EU 16th.

Ireland remains among a group of “very-low-performing countries” thanks to its insufficient action on greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, the researchers said.

The country is rated ‘medium’ in the renewable energy category, and also for international climate policy after it introduced the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill – the first of its kind in the world.

“However, existing climate mitigation efforts will not enable Ireland to achieve either its EU 2020 or 2030 targets domestically,” the Climate Change Performance Index 2019 states.

“The long­standing lack of implementation of substantive measures to put the country on a well­-below­-2°C pathway results in a very low rating for Ireland’s national policy performance.”

The index is based on analysis from around 350 energy climate experts worldwide, and was published by Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute and the Climate Action Network (CAN).

A ‘high’ rating for cutting emissions and international climate policy is largely responsible for the UK’s relatively strong 8th place ranking, although it only gets a medium score for renewables and energy use.

Morocco, Lithuania, Switzerland and Norway are among the better performing countries in the ranking, while Saudi Arabia, the US and Iran are bottom of the pile.

The EU is rated medium for developing renewables, reducing energy demand and cutting emissions, but scores high for climate policy thanks to its role on global diplomacy.

CAN Europe director, Wendel Trio, said: “To restore its role as a global climate leader at COP24, the EU needs to commit to significantly increase its 2030 climate target well beyond the 55% supported by parliament.

“EU member states also urgently need to accelerate current emission cuts and should aim at overachieving the currently weak 2020 targets.”

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