By Nuel Navarrete
Bolivia (above), along with Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh all showed strong citizen concern, but have limited business engagement.
Countries have actually moved forward on their low-carbon strategies during the first quarter of 2010 despite the precarious state of international climate negotiations, according to a study by AccountAbility and the United Nations Environment Programme.
The 2010 Climate Competitiveness Index looks into the ability of a country’s economy to create lasting economic value through low-carbon technology, products and services.
The index combines two sets of data that determine the climate competitiveness of a country’s economy: climate accountability and climate performance.
Climate accountability is how a country’s public and private sectors create a significant climate scheme that would provide solutions with relevant stakeholders in mind. On the other hand, climate performance is the track record in accomplishing the scheme.
The index analyzed 95 nations that account for 97 percent of global economic activity and 96 percent of global carbon emissions. Approximately 46 percent of these countries were found to have shown improvement in climate accountability since the climate change conference in Copenhagen last December 2009.
The study pinpointed thirty-two countries that have made notable steps toward a low-carbon development. Germany, China and Korea emerged as leaders of the pack while India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Rwanda have also improved their climate accountability.
Germany, along with Sweden, Denmark, Japan and France, also demonstrated the most consistent progress on both climate accountability and performance. Meanwhile, Switzerland and Austria are both strong on climate performance, while Britain and the United States have both advanced in the area of climate accountability.
Hong Kong, Malaysia and Korea are on their way to developing good climate change strategies, and Brazil, South Africa, India and China have been improving their climate change competitiveness.
"The [index] shows that countries at all levels of development can develop political leadership, stronger institutions and engaging with stakeholders to deliver climate competitiveness. Climate competitiveness is no longer rhetoric. It is a real, massive and dynamic economic frontier,” said Alex MacGillivray, managing director at AccountAbility.
However, the index also indicates that there is no single plan that would lead directly to climate competitiveness. Countries and regions are formulating and engaging in climate strategies based on national priorities and capabilities.
Some countries, including Bolivia, Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh, all showed strong citizen concern. But these countries also have limited business engagement.
Meanwhile, emerging economies such as Brazil and the Philippines display strong government leadership.