Expert report ranks Ireland worst country in Europe on climate change


Expert report ranks Ireland worst country in Europe on climate change

2018 Climate Change Performance Index lays bare the chasm between political rhetoric and Government action on climate change

November 15 2017, 12:39pm

2018 Climate Change Performance Index lays bare the chasm between political rhetoric and Government action on climate change


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The 2018 Climate Change Performance Index, which was launched at the UN COP 23 climate talks in Bonn, highlights Ireland as being the worst performing country in Europe for action on climate change. The Index is produced annually on the basis of joint analysis by two leading European think-tanks. It places Ireland 49th out of 56 countries, a drop of 28 places from last year.


Jerry Mac Evilly, Policy Coordinator for the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, commented:


The expert report lays bare the continuing and disturbing contradiction between Government rhetoric on climate change and the sad reality of policy implementation in Ireland.

Ireland’s polluting emissions are rising, the state is failing to meet EU obligations and the Government is not supporting greater EU ambition. This hypocrisy on climate change not only has significant reputational damage for Ireland but brings with it extremely negative impacts for our economy, our local environment and our health.”


Dr. Cara Augustenborg, Head of Science and Communications at Friends of the Earth Ireland, stated:


Just last week the Citizens’ Assembly put forward 13 concrete recommendations for climate action to allow Ireland to catch up with our European neighbours and end nearly a decade of dithering and delay. Yet at national level, we’ve seen a new climate action plan which does not guarantee any immediate reductions in pollution. And at EU level, we’ve seen repeated Government efforts to have loopholes inserted into EU legislation currently under negotiation which would hinder greater climate action.”


The Climate Change Performance Index 2018 confirms that greater efforts have been made globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and highlights positive developments regarding renewables and energy efficiency. However, it is noted that progress is still not in line with Paris Agreement commitments and that all countries must deliver much stronger policies to reduce polluting emissions. Sweden, Morocco, Norway lead the ranking. In light of the retrograde steps taken by the Trump Administration, the USA are placed in 56th position but the report points to positive actions taken by US towns, states and companies.



For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Mr. Jerry Mac Evilly, Policy Coordinator, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition:


The 2018 Climate Change Performance Index is available to download here.


Notes for the Editor


Stop Climate Chaos  is the civil society coalition campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change. The Coalition’s 33 members include overseas aid and development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations.


About the Climate Change Performance Index 2018

  • The Climate Change Performance Index by Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute is a ranking of the 56 countries and the EU, together responsible for about 90% of global GHG emissions. The methodology was improved in for the 2018 edition. The four categories examined are: emissions (40%), renewable energy (20%), energy use (20%) and climate policy (20%). The latter is based on expert assessments by NGOs and think tanks from the respective countries. One of the major achievements is that the CCPI now also evaluates to what extent the respective countries are taking adequate action within the categories emissions, renewables and energy use to being on track towards the global Paris-goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C. Since no country is on a Paris-compatible path yet, the top three of the CCPI 2018 are left unoccupied.
  • On Ireland’s position of 49th, it is noted in the Index: “Being the worst performing European country in the CCPI, Ireland ranks 49th. According to national experts, Ireland is one of the few EU countries to miss its 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU effort-sharing decision, which is one reason why the country rates very low in climate policy. Its performance in the field of GHG emissions is also very low as the country is nowhere close to being on track concerning its well below 2°C compatible pathway with both its current level as well as its 2030 target. We observe a very positive trend in the development of renewable energy, but as the current share of renewable energy in energy supply–as well as the 2030 target–are insufficient, Ireland rates only medium in the renewables category.”


Information on Ireland’s climate action

  • Ireland is the third highest producer of emissions per person in the EU, and eighth in the OECD with polluting emissions increasing by 3.7% in 2015. Ireland is one of seven EU Member States which is set to miss its 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU Effort Sharing Decision. Ireland is also the only one of these seven States where emissions are predicted to continue to rise. See analysis from European Environment Agency here
  • The Government has pushed for the inclusion of several loopholes in EU legislation currently under negotiation concerning reductions in polluting emissions to be made by Member States between 2021 and 2030. The weak provisions as currently proposed would see Ireland’s required efforts going from a 10% additional reduction in emissions to just 1%. In relation to renewable energy legislation also being negotiated in Brussels, the Government is proposing that our 2030 target should be no higher than our 2020 target and is resisting EU initiatives to get us to do more.
  • Ireland’s reputation among EU partners has suffered as the Irish Government has repeatedly called for less demanding obligations rather than planning on how to meet them, thereby undermining rather than supporting EU collective action on climate change. See Editorial by the Times here (final section). See articles by the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner, two articles by Politico (here and here), as well as Climate Change News.
  • The Government is lagging behind the public on support for climate action. In a recent Eurobarometer poll, of all 28 EU member states Irish people responded most favourably to the statement "Fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and jobs in the EU" (88%). The poll shows that Ireland is 4th strongest on the need for our own government to "increase the amount of renewable energy used, such as wind or solar power, by 2030". 96% of 1,021 respondents in Ireland said that was important or very important.
  • The recommendations, presentations and transcripts from the Citizens’ Assembly's examination of climate change are available at