Denmark, Sweden and Chile lead the list
Portugal is in the group of 15 countries with the best climate performance, climbing two positions compared to last year in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).
The index was published on Monday and analyses progress made in 59 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions.
As usual, the first three spots of the list have been left vacant because no country is fully aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C.
Denmark is the highest-placed country on the ranking (in fourth place), followed by Sweden and Chile.
The ranking follows a colour system, in which the countries in green are classified as having a high climate performance. Those in yellow are deemed to have a medium performance; in orange, a low performance; and in red, a very low performance.
Portugal appears in the group of countries in green in the 14th position, following countries such as Morocco, India, Estonia, Norway and the United Kingdom, which fell four places from the previous index. Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and Malta trail Portugal at the bottom of the green list.
The European Union as a bloc follows in the yellow group, with Egypt, Spain (which climbed 11 places), Indonesia, Italy, France (which fell 11 places) and New Zealand, among others.
Fourteen countries were placed in the red group, those with the largest emissions of greenhouse gases, including some of the most powerful countries in the world, such as China, Russia, USA, Japan, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Portuguese environmental association Zero has analysed the results, stressing that the calculations were based on the most recent data from 2020.
“The CCPI is an important tool to increase transparency in international climate policy and allows the comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by each country,” says the association, adding that the index also aims to put political and social pressure on countries that have not taken measures that contribute enough to global climate stability, while highlighting those with best practices.
Portugal’s two-position improvements came due to the closure of coal-fired power stations in Pego and Sines, leading to an improvement in the category of greenhouse gas emissions, and the publication of the Framework Law on Climate.
However, the association stresses the country’s poor performance in the transport, forestry and agriculture sectors.
As for the categories of energy use, renewable energies and climate policy, the rating is average, considering especially the high share of renewable energies.
Zero notes the improvements achieved by Portugal but also says that “there is a lack of ambition in some areas, particularly concerning fossil fuel subsidies, whose end is only scheduled for 2030.”
The association calls for more “effective policies” for the transport sector and says sustainable agriculture is under promoted, with intensive agricultures and monocultures receiving “many incentives.”
The index, published annually since 2005, is the responsibility of the German non-governmental environmental organisation Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute and evaluates four categories: greenhouse gas emissions (40% weight in the final classification), renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.
It is published jointly with the Climate Action Network International (CAN International). The countries that comprise the index are responsible for around 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions.