DUBLIN, Ireland - For the second year in a row, Ireland has been deemed as the worst country in the European Union when it comes to tackling climate change.
According to the 2019 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), Ireland has a 40.84 score for limiting global warming and climate change - making it the worst country in the European Union for climate change action.
The CCPI report, which was released at the UN climate talks in Poland, ranked Ireland on the 48th position out of 56 countries worldwide, on both the aspects studied by the surveyors.
The Index, which is compiled by Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute, noted that Ireland has jumped up one position, from the report compiled last year.
The index for 2019 noted that Ireland remains within a group of "very low performing countries," and said, "The performance in the greenhouse gas emissions category is rated very low and the country is also occupying a spot among the low-ranking performers in the energy use category."
In relation to renewable energy, the Index rated Ireland as medium - since the share of renewables in electricity generation is rising and support schemes in these areas "recognize the value" of community participation.
However, the CCPI noted that despite Ireland's low rating, the government should be commended for passing the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill.
The report said, "Ireland's performance on international climate policy is rated medium. However, existing climate mitigation efforts will not enable Ireland to achieve either its EU 2020 or 2030 targets domestically."
It added, "The long-standing lack of implementation of substantive measures to put the country on a well-below-2°C pathway results in a very low rating for Ireland's national policy performance."
Commenting on the findings of the report, Clodagh Daly of Friends of the Irish Environment said, "This report highlights the gap Minister Richard Bruton has to close between his new rhetoric on climate change and reality of Ireland's approach to climate action. His ministerial colleagues don't seem to have got the memo. Minister Bruton has successfully raised expectations in recent weeks, but as yet he hasn't taken actions that will actually lower our emissions."
Meanwhile, Cliona Sharkey, who is the Policy Adviser for Trócaire, said policymakers needed to do more, "including passing a bill to ban exploration of fossil fuels in Irish waters and implementing the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly."
In a statement, Jennifer Higgins, policy and advocacy adviser at Christian Aid Ireland, said, "We have heard consistently citizens calling for more action, and a willingness to take on the radical changes we need to see domestically to tackle climate change."
Higgins added, "It's time for Government ministers to wake up and listen, not only to the science and to the criticism we continually face at the bottom of the pack, but also to the people, both at home and in countries worst affected by climate change. With Minister Bruton coming to Katowice to the UN Climate Conference this week, the Government needs to respond immediately to the strong recommendations from the Citizens' Assembly."
According to the An Taisce, the report is another "embarrassing blow to Ireland's reputation as a good faith actor in terms of doing its fair share in tackling the global climate crisis."
John Gibbons, An Taisce's Climate Change Committee spokesperson said, "To be ranked as the very worst in the EU28 is a stunning indictment of political failure to stand up to powerful special interest lobbyists as well as refusing to face down huge complacency and inertia within the public and semi-state sectors."
2019 Index findings
The CCPI ranks countries responsible for 90 percent of global greenhouse emissions and factors like GHG emissions, energy use, renewable energy, and climate policy are taken into consideration.
This year, the Index ranked Sweden right on top of the list, with the country receiving a 76.28 rating.
Morocco was scored the second best in the world, with a rating of 70.48, while Lithuania was ranked third on the list with a rating of 70.47.
The world's worst country when it comes to climate change action was Saudi Arabia, which was followed closely by the U.S. and Iran.
According to the CCPI, the performance of the 56 countries surveyed is based on assessments by NGOs and think tanks from the respective countries.
It is aimed at assessing if nations are taking adequate action to limit global warming to below 2C by 2100, as set out in the Paris Climate deal.
The top three places of the CCPI were left unoccupied since no country is "doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change."