Australia ranks last on global index measuring climate policies

By Jackson Graham

Wednesday November 10, 2021

Australia was the only country to receive a score of zero for climate policy. (NicoElNino/Adobe)

Australia has come last for its climate policies in an international ranking revealed at the COP26 conference. 

The annual climate change performance index placed Australia overall at 58th among 64 countries, based on marks across categories of emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policy. 

Australia has fallen four places on the previous year, and was the only country to receive a score of zero for climate policy. 

A report accompanying the index highlights Australia “does not have any policies on phasing out coal or gas, but CCUS and hydrogen are being promoted as low emissions technologies”.

“Even though the renewables electricity is growing, the experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential, and other countries have outpaced it,” the report says. 

Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the UK lead the index, published by German-based advocacy group Germanwatch, which notes even if all countries were at the frontrunners’ standard “efforts would still be insufficient to prevent hazardous climate change”. 

The federal government committed to reach net zero by 2050 in October ahead of prime minister Scott Morrison attending the Glasgow climate conference. 

On Wednesday Morrison revealed the government was contributing $500 million to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation with the fund expected to reach $1 billion with private sector investment. 

He said the fund would back Australian early stage companies to develop new technology.

Energy minister Angus Taylor said the fund was aimed at a gap in the Australian market where technology-focused start-ups could be too risky to finance. 

The announcement continues the government’s “technology not taxes” mantra, which it doubled down on before Glasgow, and will require it to pass legislation to increase the Clean Energy Finance Corporation budget. 

It follows the government announcing a Future Fuels Strategy on Tuesday that faced criticism from industry for not doing enough to scale up electric vehicle sales. 

The policy focuses on funding more than 50,000 charging stations, mostly in homes, with Morrison defending a lack of subsidies for vehicles in the strategy as allowing “Australians to make their own choices” and ensuring competition drove emissions reduction.

Meanwhile, the NSW government was set to announce on Wednesday a further $105 million for incentives for electric vehicle fleets. The government already has earmarked $490 million for an electric vehicle package in this year’s budget, with fleet operators to nominate incentives they require eligible EVs in bidding rounds every six months.  


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