Berlin (UPI) Jul 1, 2009
Germany ranks first among Group of Eight nations for tackling climate change while the United States has passed on the last place to Canada, according to scorecards released Wednesday by the World Wildlife Fund and German insurance giant Allianz.
The ratings, unveiled roughly a week before G8 leaders are due to meet in Italy for their annual summit, blasts Canada for skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions, now 26 percent above 1990 levels. Russia and Italy rank among the worst in Europe. Russia ranks first for emissions reductions since 1990, but that's largely because of the country's economic collapse after the Cold War. When it comes to future policies, it ranks last.
"The leaders of the G8 plus 5 are the captains of this planet -- it is up to them to show leadership, set the new course, and prevent the Earth turning into another Titanic," Joachim Faber, Allianz board member, and James Leape, director general WWF, said in a joint statement.
Because of emissions reductions in line with the Kyoto Protocol and somewhat ambitious future policies, Germany, Britain and France are the top three G8 countries. The United States has left the last place it has held for years because of ambitious climate protection policies tabled by Congress and President Barack Obama.
"There has been more action in the United States on climate change in the last four months than in the last three decades," the report concludes.
But overall, actions by G8 countries are "by far insufficient" to stop climate change, the study concludes. The policies will not keep temperature rise below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial times. To stay below that increase, the world would have to reduce its global CO2 output by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels.
The report also calls on G8 nations to help emerging and developing countries financially with adaptation to climate change and the greening of the economies.
Emerging economies China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico -- the so-called G5 -- were also surveyed. All five countries have presented or are preparing national strategies to reduce emissions, the study found. While they were not officially ranked, experts saw some divergence in their efforts to stop climate change.
"I would put Mexico, South Africa and China at the top while Brazil and India have not been so proactive," said Niklas Hoehne, the study's lead author.
The report classifies G8 countries according to their support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Countries were scored based on three indicators: "improvements since 1990," "current status" and "policies for the future." Each indicator is weighted equally.
It's the last scorecard before representatives from 192 nations are due to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December to agree on a global climate protection deal that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.
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