Portugal 16th in NGOs’ world climate change performance index

  • Lusa
  • 9 November 2021

The associations Zero, Quercus and ANP/WWF Portugal contributed to the preparation of Portugal's profile in the index, which rises one place from 2020 and continues to have a "high" performance.

The podium of countries with the best performance in policies to combat climate change is empty, according to an index released Tuesday at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP26), in which Portugal is in 16th place worldwide.

The Climate Change Performance Index, which is the responsibility of a network of environmental non-governmental organizations, places Denmark as the highest-ranked country, but no nation has received the status of “very high” performance, which means doing enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial era by the end of the XXI century.

The environmental associations Zero, Quercus and ANP/WWF Portugal contributed to the preparation of Portugal’s profile in the index, which rises one place from last year and continues to have a “high” performance.

The parameters assessed are the level of greenhouse gas emissions, with a weight of 40%, renewable energy, energy consumption and climate policies, which count 20% each for the final assessment.

“Emissions per capita (excluding forests and land use), as well as energy use per capita, are still increasing, while the share of renewable energy in energy use has been increasing less, leading to low ratings in the respective trend indicators (2014-2019),” the three organisations say in a joint statement.

In their assessment of Portugal, they argue that the country needs “concrete deadlines for the gradual elimination of fossil fuel subsidies,” set for 2030 in the Basic Law on Climate Policy approved last week in Parliament, as well as bringing forward the date for the country to achieve carbon neutrality, which the law also states can be achieved before 2050.

They also consider that Portugal should set decarbonisation targets in the transport and agriculture sectors, calling for more investment in public transport.

Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom top the index with “high” performance, while Canada, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan are at the bottom of a list of 60 countries plus the European Union assessed as a whole, which comes 22nd with a “medium” performance.

Eleven countries of the 20 with the largest economies – which account for 75% of global pollutant emissions – have a “low” or “very low” performance according to the index.

The United States, Australia and Russia have an overall “very low” performance and China, South Africa and Spain have a “low” rating.

On the emissions parameter, the UK comes top and Iran last, while on renewable energy Norway ranks first and Iran also has the worst performance.

In the assessment of energy use, Ukraine is the highest-ranked and Canada the worst. As for climate policies, the index is topped by Luxembourg and Australia comes in last place.

COP26 takes place six years after the Paris Agreement, which set the goal of limiting the increase in the global average temperature of the planet to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above the values of the pre-industrial era.

Despite the commitments made, greenhouse gas concentrations reached record levels in 2020, even with the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, according to the UN, which estimates that at the current rate of emissions, temperatures will be 2.7ºC higher by the end of the century.