• Austria's news in English

Austria slips in climate change rankings

The Local · 8 Dec 2014, 20:19

Published: 08 Dec 2014 20:19 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Ranking in only 36th place, Austria is listed well below most other developed countries in terms of its commitment to emissions controls, especially in terms of carbon-dioxide (CO2).

The best performing countries include Denmark, in top position, followed by Sweden and the United Kingdom.  Denmark has held the top position for the past three years.

France remains in 12th position, while Germany has maintained its position at 22nd, despite large investments in renewable energy.

The Climate Change Performance Index compares the progress on climate change among the 58 countries who are responsible for 90 percent of global CO2 emissions.

China, the world's biggest emitter, has shown improvements in the efficiency sector and massive investments in renewables. 

The cause of Austria's poor performance is a lack of political initiative, according to John Wahlmüller, spokesman for the Austrian environmental lobby group Global 2000.  

"Austria's policy has been in a deep sleep for the last three years.  Not a single significant policy initiative was set, nor was there progress on implementation of EU directives.  Political initiatives, funding and the courage to commit to long-term thinking are urgently needed", he said.

The Netherlands plummeted eight places from last year, while Austria dropped five. Austria’s emissions are not decreasing and it is likely to miss its 2020 climate and energy targets, despite its high renewables and energy efficiency potential.  It is also one of the few EU countries to have not yet contributed to the Green Climate Fund, experts told EurActiv.

The last place (61) is occupied by Saudi Arabia, which has the worst record on curbing the growth of its emission trends, and lack of investment in renewable energy.

Denmark's performance is particularly impressive.  Its CO2 emissions have been declining steadily since 1997, in the last five years by an impressive 19 per cent.

"All that and more, Austria could also implement", said Wahlmüller.

Story continues below…

"Now it is important that the promised government program of measures for climate protection with their associated eco-social tax reform, thermal building renovation and investment in public transport, are submitted soon by Environment Minister Andrae Rupprechter."

"Austria has to stand by its promises at the international level.  [The goals of] Lima are a shameful idea for Austria, if no contribution to the Green Climate Fund will be made," said Wahlmüller.

"The entire federal government is required to take climate change seriously," said Wahlmüller.

"Austria is one of the few developed countries to have made no commitment through a financial contribution to the Green Climate Fund, which has already attracted international attention and earned our country the negative award 'Fossil of the Day', which is awarded by 900 environmental organizations." 

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

The Local List
Five things you need to know about winter tyres
Photo: carmagazine.co.uk

It’s that time of year when temperatures start to plunge and drivers are advised to switch to winter tyres to avoid being caught out by snow and ice on the roads.

Radioactive uranium rocks on display in Austrian schools
Uraninite crystals. Photo: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com/Wikimedia

Education officials have carried out urgent checks in schools across the country after one of the stones on display in a classroom turned out to be radioactive.

Austrian churches slam far-right's 'God' slogan
Campaign poster for Norbert Hofer. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austrian church officials have denounced far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer for "instrumentalising" God in a new slogan.

'Scary clown' pushes 14-year-old off his bike in Salzburg
Generic photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

A 14-year-old boy in Salzburg has been injured after being pushed off his bike by an individual dressed as a scary clown.

Police puzzled by random stabbing of teenager in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A 15-year-old boy who was stabbed near his home in the Vienna district of Liesing on Friday morning by a complete stranger has spoken to the police.

'Sensational' 300-year-old Madonna found in Burgenland
The head of the statue was found beside the body. Photo: ORF

A 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary has been found hidden in a chapel next to a Catholic church in Loretto, Burgenland.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available