Media release: Doctors slam Australia’s poor ranking in climate change performance

15 November 2017


Doctors slam Australia’s poor ranking in climate change performance

In what health experts describe as embarrassing and shameful, Australia has come in as one of the worst performers in an annual assessment of 57 nations’ climate policies, heading only three other countries.

The German based organisation, Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (Europe) have today announced the results of their annual survey of the performance of countries’ climate change action throughout the world, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).

The assessment measures carbon emissions, uptake of renewable energy resources, energy efficiency (calculated by assessing the total primary energy supply per capita) and the country’s emission reduction policies.

Dr John Iser, spokesperson for Doctors for the Environment Australia, a medical group which is supported by a Nobel laureate, recipients of the Australia of the Year award and other distinguished health experts,  says it is extremely disappointing to see Australia has not moved from its lowly position over the last few years.  Were it not for more ambitious efforts by some Australian states, our performance and rating would have been even worse.

Says Dr Iser, “There is no excuse for Australia’s low ranking. We have known for decades that we should reduce emissions and Australia is blessed with natural attributes which allow us to do so.

“However our federal government is still rating emissions as a low priority when formulating national energy policy, even though global carbon emissions are once again rising.

“The poor rating in the CCPI also indicates that Australia needs to seriously and promptly address other forms of carbon emissions such as transport, land use and deforestation.

“Climate policy also rates poorly while our federal government is restrained from developing ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

“Many commentators have already conceded that the world has no chance of staying within the 1.5˚C limit, and will have extreme difficulty meeting the 2˚C warming limit which is regarded as the upper level of safety for the future of human health.

“To amplify these and Germanwatch’s concerns, over 15,000 scientists throughout the world have this week warned of the dire consequences humanity faces if stronger action is not taken to control greenhouse-gas emissions, incentivize renewable energies, curb pollution and protect natural ecosystems.

“Future generations and the whole biosphere are vitally dependent on strong and effective policies. Australia needs to lift its game.”

The CCPI comes as world leaders, including Australia, gather in Germany to do their part in curbing greenhouse gas emissions as per the Paris Agreement.

Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI

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