Switzerland no longer at the forefront of fighting climate change, index claims

Switzerland no longer at the forefront of fighting climate change, index claims

The Climate Change Performance Index for 2022 has seen Switzerland's score plummet by seven places. The alpine nation now finds itself 22nd on the list, with experts blaming the foreign and domestic policies (or lack thereof) pursued by the government.

Climate Change Performance Index 2022

The annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) by the environmental organisation Germanwatch is a ranking of each nation's climate goals and how much effort each country is making towards achieving said goals. 450 international experts and analysts were used to place countries from fourth to 63rd - as the ranking argues that no country in the world is doing enough to combat climate change, so no country should be given a spot on the podium.

The nations in the list are rated through the following categories:

  • Climate policy
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Consumption of energy
  • Policies in favour of renewable energies (green subsidies, for example)

Each category is given a weighting, with a total score used to determine each nation’s place on the ranking.

Scandinavian countries dominate climate action ranking

Like the CCPI ranking in 2021, the top of the list in 2022 is dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Denmark and Sweden reclaiming first and second place, while the new addition of Chile took third. Denmark was praised for its ambitious climate goals, notably the new CO2 tax implemented by the government in June 2022.

Elsewhere, the Netherlands was hailed for its strong policies on renewable energy, earning it 13th place. A less positive development was Germany, with the federal republic falling to 16th overall - something the study partly blamed on its policy around coal-fired power stations.

Switzerland ranks 22nd in the world for climate policy

From 15th place in 2021, Switzerland has fallen seven positions in 2022, ranking 22nd overall. This means that the alpine nation is no longer a “high performer” on climate policy and now ranks “medium” overall.

The CCPI explained that while Switzerland has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the government has failed to actually implement policies that would achieve the goal. Most notably, at a referendum in 2021, Swiss citizens chose to reject a plan that would regulate emissions by 2030 - although it is important to note that current proposals like the Glacier Initiative were not analysed by the study.

"Switzerland's tumble does not surprise me," noted climate and energy expert from Greenpeace Switzerland, Georg Klingler. “Switzerland is not respecting the commitments made under the Paris Agreement and is not doing enough to reduce its emissions. Our country is on a trajectory which leads to a warming of 3 degrees Celsius," he explained.

Swiss government criticised for outsourcing carbon emissions

Germanwatch also condemned Switzerland for its plan to “outsource” and “offset” greenhouse gas emissions by investing in green projects abroad. This was recently criticised in a report by the New York Times, which argued that the alpine nation was “paying poor countries” to help reduce carbon emissions, without having to do anything domestically.

While it praised Switzerland’s efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions abroad, Greenpeace said that people in the country still need to reduce their own carbon footprint, not just offset it. Klingler concluded that "current federal policy is nothing but greenwashing."

The 10 countries with the best policies on climate change

In all, these are the 10 - although in this case the seven - countries with the best climate policies in 2022.

  1. -
  2. -
  3. -
  4. Denmark
  5. Sweden
  6. Chile
  7. Morocco
  8. India
  9. Estonia
  10. Norway

For more information, please consult the CCPI website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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