28 Apr 2010 05:04:39
Who is performing best in the race towards a low carbon economy?
For many countries around the world the task they face in the coming years is how to create a more sustainable environment while still competing in the global economy.
This represents a significant challenge, as businesses have often been reluctant to change their practices for fear of them impacting on their bottom line.
However, the annual Climate Competitiveness Index, compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and non-profit organisation AccountAbility, suggests that many nations are already making strides in this area.
Simply put, a country's climate competitiveness is measured by its accountability, defined as the clarity and support for its policies, and its performance - whether its track record suggests it is able to implement the changes.
The report analysed the activities of 95 major countries across the world. Together, these nations account for 97 per cent of the world's economic activity and 96 per cent of its carbon emissions.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, was shown to be performing well in many areas. It was named as an "outstanding example" of a country which is making significant strides towards a low carbon economy.
The country was also said to have achieved "consistent progress" in combining climate accountability with performance, which UNEP said is the key to increasing Climate Competitiveness.
Sweden, Denmark, Japan and France were all shown to be performing well in this area. North Africa and the Middle East region were of the worst performers in both areas.
In terms of the performance index, the UK was shown to be the strongest nation in the world. However, it lagged behind a number of other European countries when it came to accountability.
The Low Carbon Economy Limited partnership with UNEP can be found by clicking here
. It includes data and policy, country by country, which can be viewed and analysed.
UNEP suggested that the countries which performed well in the index had a strong record in reporting and managing carbon emissions, as well as developing their range of low carbon products and services.
It said that a network of organisations dedicated to the support of low carbon growth was present in those which performed best.
But in Bolivia, Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh, concern among members of the population was a key driver and in Scandinavia and Singapore businesses were playing a major role.
All signs point to the routes leading to a low carbon economy being varied, which begs the question, is the UK currently travelling down the right one?