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Jan 14, 2014

Evaluating policy performance: The Climate Change Performance Index

Image Credit: Eric Harding/iStock/Thinkstock

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) holds countries accountable to global carbon dioxide reduction targets using emissions-based indicators and policy evaluations. Produced by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe, it is released at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual meeting. Since 2005, the CCPI has been naming and shaming countries as they rise and fall on their list.

The CCPI ranks 58 countries that together represent over 90 percent of global CO2 emissions. These countries include top emitters like China and the United States, but also other countries like Kazakhstan and Iran. To achieve the top ranks, highest performing countries must be on track toward achieving an under 2-degree Celsius temperature rise scenario – the most ambitious emissions pathway possible. So far, no country has ranked in one of the top three slots because, according to the CCPI report, no country is performing well enough to meet the ideal carbon emissions targets.

The Index includes indicator categories that weigh both long and short-term progress by capturing the time needed for climate policies to take effect. To do so, the CCPI takes into consideration climate emissions that include both the levels of emissions and the trend of emissions over time.

What is novel about the CCPI is its attempt to not only consider climate emissions as an indicator of performance, but to include perception and survey data on how policies are working within countries. The scores in the climate policy category come from surveys of climate experts around the world. Over 250 experts ranked their nations’ domestic climate change policies as well as their leaders’ international action on a five-point scale (from “very good” to “very poor”). The national and international climate change policy indicators are both weighted evenly in the indicator; this can have a dramatic effect on countries’ ranking on the CCPI. This year Germany dropped out of the top-10 ranking for the first time, mainly because national climate experts gave a negative evaluation of their nation’s performance. Their perception: the German government is letting up on some of its prior ambition.