It is no news that the interaction of humankind with the Earth had led to severe consequences – which we are currently tackling.
Over the decades, we are now getting to understand the reaction of the Earth to our exploration, civilization, and industrialization. Terms like climate change, Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG), environmental sustainability have now become keywords of worldwide concern and discussions.
Thankfully, we are retracing our steps; we are becoming more conscious of the consequences and actively dealing with them. Among all the countries, a few have gone the extra mile in ensuring that Earth’s climate remains in a viable condition. Therefore, this post aims to appraise those countries, to learn what they have done in maintaining a sustainable climatic condition for the planet.
Before we move on to appraise these individual countries and their adherence to their climate policy, we must do a global overview:
Where we are: Based on the current greenhouse gas emission rate: we are 1 deg Celsius higher than the pre-industrial (before 1990) global temperature.
If we continue with all current climate policies and adherence to them, the average temperature of the Earth will be 3.2 deg Celsius higher than the pre-industrial global temperature by 2100. Read this to understand the effect of this stat. (https://scied.ucar.edu/longcontent/predictions-future-global-climate)
However, according to the Paris agreement, the goal is not to exceed the 1.5 deg Celsius global temperature increase by 2100. Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change, IPCC, gave a detailed report on the impact of a 1.5 deg Celsius global warming. (https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/)
To the crux of our discussion, here are five countries that have kept to the Paris Agreement, and even exceeded its expectations. This rank is according to the Climate Change Performance Index, CCPI.
Five Most Compliant Countries to a Sustainable Climate Change Policy In 2019
For almost a decade now, Sweden has been one of the leading countries in the EU and the world in pursuing the climate change goal. In 2004, 154 countries agreed to specific renewable goals by 2020. Sweden committed herself and fulfilled the target in 2012; there’s pretty much a lot to learn from them.
Currently, Sweden has a Climate Act that was enforced on 01 Jan 2018. The act binds the Swedish government to:
- Present a climate report in its Budget Bill each year
- Draw up a climate policy action plan every fourth year to describe how the climate targets are to be achieved
- Make sure that climate policy goals and budget policy goals work together
As per the same act, Sweden has an aggressive long-term climatic goal, that is to have a zero net greenhouse gas emission before 2045. To also control the use of fossil fuel, a major emitter of CO2, they put a CO2 tax on all fossils to support renewable energy in Sweden.
Sweden also has renewable energy subsidies put into renewable energy technology for cheaper purchases and to promote research and development.
Even though it is a developing country, Morocco has shown a significant commitment to tackling climate change challenges. Morocco was among the pioneer countries to assign a designated national authority to Clean Development mechanisms.
Today, Morocco has a written vision to
- Strengthen the legal and institutional framework on climate change
- Improve knowledge and observation in climate change and climate science
- Prevent and reduce climate risks
- Improve awareness and empower climate change actors
- Promote research, innovation, and technology transfer
Morocco has a goal to reach an installed renewable energy capacity of 42% by 2020 and to reduce CO2 emissions to 35% by 2020.
Remarkably, Morocco is home to the world’s largest concentrated solar plant, with a capacity of 580MW. This renewable energy solution by Morocco offsets about 750,000 tons of CO2 that Morocco would otherwise generate by burning fossil fuel.
As of 2015, Lithuania boasted a fraction of 23% renewable of the total energy used and had reduced greenhouse gas emissions to as much as 56%. This was as a result of a working climate change policy, strategy, and action plan developed for 2013-2050.
In this policy, Lithuania pledges to keep the renewable energy supply at 23% of the final energy consumption by 2020, also that nothing less than 0.38% of the GDP will be assigned the short time goals.
Lithuania’s mid-term goal is to reduce 40% of GHG emissions by 2030 and to reduce 60 % of GHG emissions by 2040 below the 1990 level. While for the long term, it is to reduce 80 % GHG emission by 2050 below the 1990 level. Lithuania went further to implement an action plan strategy to carry out the terms in the agreement.
However, according to CCPI, Lithuania has dropped by almost 3% of its total use of renewable energy due to the increase in the demand for electricity from a growing population. Irrespective, Lithuania’s greenhouse gas emissions and RE use still fall below the Paris Agreement values.
The United Kingdom happens to have the most aggressive climate change policy among developed countries. Initially, the UK had a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% (of the 1990 level), which was to be achieved by 2050. However, they recently took on a more aggressive approach, with the same timeline of 2050, the UK now plans to have a net-zero emission.
Notably, the UK has an impressive reduction in the emission of CO2 in its energy sector, compared to the 1990 level. The 2018 provisional GHG emission report showed that there had been a 59% reduction in CO2 emission. As of 2018, UK has a RE capacity of 41.9GW, exceeding the 41.2GW generated from fossil fuel.
Switzerland has one of the most active citizen-groups – pushing for better climate change policies in the world. Even though they have an excellent performance globally, student bodies and even senior citizens (grannies) are actively protesting for more GHG reduction.
The citizens of Switzerland voted an impactful energy policy in 2017, which stopped the construction of new nuclear plants and started the process of gradually removing the current nuclear plants. In the same ambition, funds were raised to invest in more renewable energy.
Based On the Paris agreement, Switzerland committed to reduce GHG emissions by 50% (from the 1990 level), which they look forward to achieving by 2030. Switzerland also put in place measures like CO2 levy on fossil fuels, eco-friendly building standards for houses and offices, CO2 emission regulation for vehicles, investment in RE innovations, and a lot more.
Observing the performance of these countries gives a glimpse of hope for the Earth’s future, yet there’s still more to do. Countries need to put in more effort into tackling GHG emissions, which comes majorly from their energy sector.
The use of renewable energy is gaining more ground and becoming very accessible; stakeholders need to incorporate effective methods and innovations into how renewable energy is supplied and distributed within their electric grid. These RE solutions are what we passionately pursue at hivepower.tech, to the end that the overall goal of a better planet is achieved.