Where is your country in the global green ranking?

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In preparation for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio 2012, TCO
(The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees) examined how sustainably the world’s countries have been developing since the first UN environmental conference, held in Stockholm in 1972.

134 countries for which data could be collected from open World Bank and IEA sources were examined.

One of the proposals for this summer’s Rio conference was to develop sustainability goals, and a country´s carbon intensity, measured in emission per GDP-dollar, could be such a goal. Overall, the world’s carbon intensity has decreased by 43 percent since1972.

However, the world economy has also more than doubled during the same period. Global emissions have therefore increased, and will continue to increase if not countries succeed in lowering their carbon intensities much faster than their GDP-growth. A couple of countries reduced their carbon-intensity by 70 percent or more, and 40 countries have actually lowered their total national emissions since 1972.

There are two major ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and both must be used at much higher rates in the future in order to reach the world’s climate goals. The share of renewable energy must be increased, and energy efficiency must grow faster than economic growth. One country has nearly doubled its share of renewable energy, to a level of over 80 percent, thanks to an expansion of geothermal energy and hydropower.

However, the world’s share of renewable energy has meanwhile fluctuated between 12 percent and 14 percent during these years. Energy efficiency, measured as energy supplied per dollar GDP produced, has improved by 37 percent globally, which only represents approximately 1 percent per year.

Some countries have done much better than so, but quite a few countries have actually increased their energy use per dollar GDP produced, becoming less efficient, over the last four decades. Those of these countries which have to import energy has lost large amount of money because of that development the last couple of years, as energy, and especially oil, has become much more expensive the last decade.

The report named ”The Climate transition and the transition climate” can be downloaded here and the database behind it can be found at www.tco.se/riorank