www.independent.co.uk 20th October 2010
The UK has topped a recent survey by Australia’s Climate Institute thinktank that lists countries on the value of their incentives to cut pollution from electricity generation. The Vivid Economics report estimate that the UK’s efforts were equivalent to 29.30 US dollars per tonne of CO2. Surprisingly, China came in second with $14.20 per tonne due to their title as the world’s leader in clean energy investment. The USA came next with $5.10, then Japan at $3.10, Australia $1.70, and finally just 70 US cents per tonne for South Korea. The six countries make up about half of global carbon emissions. The great success in the list is China, who has been long considered as a heavy polluter. Erwin Jackson, director of the Climate Institute, said that the country’s investment in clean energy stood at US$35billion in 2009 alone compared to $18bill. in the USA and $11bill. in the UK. This figure is expected to increase tenfold over the next decade. Subsidies and the closure of dirty coal plants are all being used in an attempt to produce 15% of China’s energy by 2020. However, the report also warned that none of the countries in the list were in line to meet global reduction targets set at the Copenhagen Summit last year, with Japan lagging furthest behind ‘in relative terms’. Australia, as the world’s worst per capita polluter due to its heavy reliance on coal, is also far off target.