Climate change and global warming: How do countries respond

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Published on 2016-11-22 at 08:20 by Maria Iotova
The political and social debate on climate change, and the effects it has on all beings, our environment, and health is a matter of shared interest. According to migration experts, climate change will soon give rise to big waves of migration, indistinctively forcing citizens to move to less vulnerable countries.

Top climate change performing countries

Even though the discussions are dreary, the 58 countries that are accountable for the 90% of global CO2 emissions are annually assessed by the Climate Change Performance Index, and strive to achieve an international cooperation — some harder than others. The CCPI isn't denoting winners and putting finger on losers. On the contrary, it attempts to create a wide sense of responsibility, emphasising the need for continuous work from all the countries — even these that are on the top of the list. Being down-to-earth, the CCPI hasn't given the first, second, and third place to any country, as “no country has done enough to prevent the dangerous impacts of climate change”.  

Denmark goes for the fifth time out in the front, due to the country's energy efficiency policies, and its commitment to renewable energy — currently 40% of Denmark's electricity comes from renewable energy sources. The world's shining example of climate protection is followed by the United Kingdom where the government is investing in low-carbon energy sources, is controlling emissions via low emission zones, and is increasing energy efficiency. Sweden — one of the most ardent supporters of renewable energy in Europe — is in sixth position. Belgium, France (with the lowest level of per-capita emissions in the G7), and Cyprus are coming next. In tenth position is Morocco that is already working towards increasing its renewable electricity capacity to 42%, paving the path for the rest of Africa.

The world's biggest emitters: How do they perform?

But how do the the two largest emitters, China and the United States, tackle the problem of climate change, and where do they stand on the list? Even though the two countries together produce 44% of the world's CO2 emissions, they haven't even made it in the top 40 — which means that they have a long way to go before we can say that they are actually seriously concerned about climate change, and its implications.

India, the third largest emitter (5.81% of total CO2 emissions) is in the 25th position — a significant progress since 2015 when it was in the 31st position. India, the second most populated country in the world after China (1.3 billion), is deviating its interests from coal to renewable energy — with special focus on solar energy.

Australia, a country with high per capita emission levels, is in 59th position, meaning that the country has been unable to control its emissions produce — it also performs weakly when it comes to renewable energies. However, Australia has committed to future progress, and to decrease emissions that are generated by various sectors.

Last on the list is the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia. About 45% of the country's GDP comes from oil, and although renewable energies have been making their way into the kingdom, the pace is very slow — almost insignificant. According to the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, the government body in charge of weather prediction, air pollution, waste management, marine and coastal habitats, Saudi Arabia will be strikingly affected by climate change, prone to drought.

Climate change: A look into the future

The Climate Change Performance Index, is “an instrument supposed to enhance transparency in international climate politics.  Its aim is to encourage political and social pressure on those countries which have, up to now, failed to take ambitious actions on climate protection as well as to highlight countries with best-practice climate policies”.

Whether it's possible to decarbonise our economy, or not, there's is definitely an urgency to reduce the world's emission levels, to incorporate renewable energies, and to revise our climate policies. All countries except four are showing initiatives, and are taking big steps towards a sustainable world run by renewable energies, but there's so much more to be done, including the prevention of illegal deforestation and forest degradation in countries such as Indonesia.

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