Australia has slid to third-last in a climate action index of the world’s top polluters, as it continues to stall on putting a price on carbon pollution.

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), published annually by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe, compares 60 developed and emerging economies which account for more than 90 per cent of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions.

The 2011 Index, released overnight at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, ranks Australia 58th – just ahead of Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia in last position. Even the world’s largest emitters, China and the US, rank higher than Australia.

“Australia’s shameful ranking on climate action is due to the fact we have the highest emissions per capita in the developed world and our emissions continue to rise,” WWF-Australia Head of Climate Change Kellie Caught said.

“Our continued presence at the bottom of the climate action rankings, behind key OECD countries, should be a national embarrassment,” Ms Caught said.

“It should send a clear signal that we are at risk of falling further behind the rest of the world in transitioning to a low-polluting economy unless we act faster.

“We have a pollution-dependent economy which is blocking our incentive to change – despite having access to abundant solar, geothermal, wave and wind resources.

“A price on carbon pollution would make clean energy cheaper and reward Australian businesses that took responsibility for cleaning up their acts, whilst penalising those that didn’t.”

WWF is calling on Federal politicians to do all they can to ensure Australia implements an ambitious price on pollution to quickly shift to a clean energy economy with less pollution, more jobs and healthy communities, while helping to tackle the global warming crisis.

It is the fifth year in a row Australia has fallen in the CCPI rankings. While developing nations were praised for their efforts to reduce emissions, in the three areas assessed by the CCPI – emissions trends, levels and climate policy – Australia rated “Very Poor”, “Very Poor” and “Moderate”.

The full report can be viewed at

Guest Post from WWF Australia
Kellie Caught, WWF Climate Change Policy Manager
Jonathon Larkin, WWF Media Officer

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