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Swiss ranking for climate change action drops

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Swiss ranking for climate change action drops
Photo: Greenpeace/Vasari
20:41 CET+01:00
Switzerland’s ranking has fallen for the second year in a row in a climate change index compiled by environmental groups and released on Tuesday as global politicians seek a climate deal at the COP21 summit in Paris.

The Swiss rank 14th in the 2016 Climate Change Performance Index produced by the Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch, down from eighth in the 2014 index.

For the fifth time, Denmark leads the index in fourth place — the first three places are left unfilled because no country, according to the groups, has yet taken sufficient steps needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.

Denmark ranks ahead of the UK, Sweden, Belgium and France.

The US ranks 34th in the comparison of 58 industrial countries, just above the Netherlands and Norway, while Saudi Arabia ranks last, ahead of Kazakhstan and Australia.

Denmark is praised for its renewable energy and policies for energy efficiency, although there are some negative developments in the country, including budget cuts for “climate protection measures”.

The index evaluates emissions levels, development of emissions, renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate policies.

Reacting to the report, the Swiss arm of Greenpeace criticized the lack of progress in Switzerland on climate change.

It said the world had spent two-thirds of its carbon budget — the maximum carbon dioxide emissions allowed if global warming is not to surpass 2C — while Switzerland has spent four-fifths of its carbon budget.

Switzerland is supportive of the proposed COP21 accord and is prepared to commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 1990 levels between and 2020 and 2030.

But Greenpeace said the Swiss remain too reliant on fossil fuels and offset this buying emission trading certificates, essentially paying for reductions in emissions elsewhere.

Switzerland has fallen behind countries such as France, Italy and the UK in its climate change policies, the environmental group said.

It is one of the countries most reliant on oil for heating in Europe and is one of the most “motorized” on the continent, the group said. 

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