These rankings clearly show that, above almost everyone else, Europe is trending towards a clean energy future. If anything, its resolve appears to have been strengthened, not weakened, following the shock US election results.
Key European figures have spoken about imposing a carbon tax on all imports from the US should Trump withdraw from the Paris agreement. France and the UK will not include coal as part of their energy mix by 2023 and 2025, respectively. The UK has itself just ratified the Paris agreement. Germany wishes to cut its emissions by 95 percent by 2050.
However, despite Europe’s trend of continuing the rejection of fossil fuels, the authors of the rankings report note that the complex and conflicting political narratives playing out there may endanger its position as a forerunner on climate change mitigation.
“While the EU struggles to find its position on various issues and is losing its leading position in climate protection, other countries are stepping in,” they note. “The most positive dynamic of high-emission countries we see in China.”
China, featuring a coal slowdown and a renewable energy boom – as well as being one of the two foundations of the Paris agreement – looks set to be the world leader in the fight against climate change. It’s recently had to confirm that the phenomenon is not, as the US President-elect once said, a Chinese hoax.
Thanks to science and market forces, coal's on its way out. iurii/Shutterstock