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Asia overtakes Europe in decarbonisation race



Asian countries are cutting their emissions faster than many European nations, according to the Climate Institute/GE Low-Carbon Competitiveness Index.

The Climate Institute’s report, analysing data from 2010, highlights that countries like China, Japan and South Korea are doing better than Europe and the US in their efforts to decarbonise their economies.

In 2009, France, the UK and Germany were among the top five, with France in first place and the UK in third. Today, however, the UK has lost two places, while Germany has dropped to sixth.

The top five now consists of France, Japan, China, South Korea and the UK. The ranking reflects the huge investment made by Asian countries into clean energy, despite many, like China, still relying heavily on coal.

John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, said, “China’s dramatic improvement is due to its growing investment in clean energy coupled with growing high-tech exports. In 2010 alone, China hosted just under half of total global public equity investment in clean energy.

Despite the economic downturn, a number of EU countries have managed to hold on to their relatively good position to compete in the global low-carbon economy. However, Asian countries, particularly China, are beginning to threaten the EU’s position as a low-carbon leader.”

The US experienced the worst drop, going down to the 11th place. China currently releases more greenhouse gases than the US, but has managed to compensate by investing heavily in low-carbon technologies.

Connor added, “Leaders in the global low-carbon economy are those countries which have recognised the inextricable link between economic growth, resource security and climate change and are acting accordingly.”

Further reading:

Chinese firms see sustainability reporting boost

Metric launched to help investors compare sustainability of firms

Climate change will create investment winners and losers

Government admits to breaching legal air quality limits


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