An international climate change agreement is still in the pipeline, but evidence shows that countries are already taking steps to creating climate resilient strategies that provide opportunities for economic growth. The Climate Competitiveness Index (CCI) is a new analysis of countries’ climate accountability and performance to identify their progress towards a low carbon economy.
‘Climate competitiveness’ is defined as ‘the ability of an economy to create enduring economic value through low carbon technology, products and services.’ ‘Climate accountability’ indicates a clear, ambitious climate strategy that is supported by stakeholders, and ‘climate performance’ is a consideration of each country’s capabilities and track record on delivering its strategy. Through an assessment of climate action in 95 countries, the CCI metric covers the majority of businesses, 97% of global economic activity and 96% of carbon emissions.
The Climate Competitiveness Index 2010 report, launched earlier this month, presents two years of research conducted by AccountAbility, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes accountability innovations for sustainable development, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Index shows that nearly half (46%) of the countries assessed have improved their climate accountability since the UNFCC Copenhagen conference last December, and one third of countries are already showing promising gains in low carbon economic growth. Other key findings include:
- Countries with strong climate performance generally have higher levels of climate accountability.
- Climate accountability is becoming a vote-winner for governments.
- Climate competitiveness is not dictated by income level, for instance, the Philippines are highly accountable and Chile, Mauritius and South Africa are following suit.
- Climate action in the private sector is crucial for climate competitiveness.
- The clean energy sector, estimated at US$200 billion in 2010, has seen growing investment in recent years.
- Countries that are most vulnerable to climate change do not have the accountability and capacity they need to develop climate resilient growth strategies and they will need international support.
- Different regions and economic areas are showing patterns in their competitiveness strategy, for example, emerging economies like Brazil and the Philippines demonstrate strong government leadership, whereas in other countries such as in Scandinavia and Singapore, leadership is more evident in the business community. However, in Bolivia, Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh, a strong citizen concern is met by limited business engagement.
These new metrics will help to inform the strategies of policy-makers, businesses and citizens, engaging countries within the process and providing a competitive potential in working towards achieving a global low-carbon economy.
The image below shows how the different geo-economic areas are combining climate accountability and performance: