US at Bottom of G8 Emissions Reduction/Climate Change Action Rankings

Andrew Burger

The US ranks just above dead last among G8 nations when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and paving the way for a low carbon/clean technology society, according to a "G8 Climate Scorecard" report.

The US ranks next to last among G8 member countries when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and paving the way toward a clean energy economy, according to a World Wildlife Fund-Allianz SE study released July 1.

US greenhouse emissions have risen by almost 15% since 1990--the base reference year used in the voluntary CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets built into the UN Kyoto Protocol global climate change agreement--the main reason why the US ranks as low as it does among its peer group of developed, industrialized nations, according to the G8 Climate Scorecard.

Urging Action

“For too long, the U.S. has resisted action while other nations have begun the transition to a clean energy economy. Other nations have dramatically cut greenhouse gas pollution, set national targets, ramped up investments in energy technology and set regulatory frameworks to spark innovation in key sectors. And now other countries dominate markets in sustainable energy and technology," WWF president and CEO Carter Roberts stated in a media release.

Some Congressional representatives opposing the American Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009, which cleared the House of Representatives by a narrow margin last week demanded that other countries "first step up to the plate," Roberts noted.

"The truth is that not only has much of the rest of the world already been at the plate, they’re several innings into the game and we’re only now emerging from the dugout."

He urged senators to take up and pass the ACES forward for Pres. Obama's signing in time to prepare for the upcoming UN climate change agreement negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

“It is time for the U.S. to get into the game and make up for lost time. Passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act by the House on Friday took us a big step forward. We need the Senate to pass the bill, get it to the President before Copenhagen and give us the means to challenge other countries to work with us in solving this global problem,” Roberts said.

G8 Climate Scorecard

Using a variety of metrics, the study assesses and ranks the policies of G8 countries, including reduction or growth of greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, the percentage of a country's energy portfolio derived from renewable sources, and investments in clean energy technology.

No G8 member's efforts were sufficient to rank in the report's "Good" category. Ranking ahead of Canada and behind Russia, the next-to-last-place finish is actually a step up for the US, which has consistently ranked last in these annual reports, according to WWF. "Green" energy and economic stimulus included in federal emergency legislation late last year, a push in Congress to pass bills that would cut CO2 and GHG emissions reduction along with Pres. Obama's stated efforts to foster a new low carbon/clean energy economy boosted the US up one place in the ranking.

Germany ranked first in the study, followed by the United Kingdom and France. All three have cut their greenhouse gas emissions to the point where they have already met the voluntary reductions they agreed to try to meet as per the Kyoto Protocol.

The WWF-Allianz SE G8 Climate Scorecard report is available here.

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