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Essay by Eric Worrall

Level of dependence on Russian Gas was not a report metric – but if it was a metric, the order of top places on the MIT green future index list would probably have looked much the same.

The Green Future Index 2022

The Green Future Index 2022 is the second annual comparative ranking of 76 nations and territories on their ability to develop a sustainable, low-carbon future for their economies and societies. In this year’s ranking, we have found that many countries may not be maintaining the rate of change first brought about by pandemic-related slowdowns and lockdowns. Moreover, faced with uncertainty as the pandemic drags on, many have reverted to old carbon-intensive habits to recharge theireconomies.Yet,therehasalsobeenanincredible ramp-up in the investment in renewable energy (accounting for more than 70% of all new power generation in 2021) and many of the world’s leading nations—including some of its largest polluters— committed to firm dates to achieve carbon neutrality. Our collective efforts to establish a green future are inexorably (if perhaps more moderately than hoped for) gathering momentum.

The key findings of this year’s report are as follows:

In this year’s index, many countries are not maintaining the rate of change first brought about by pandemic- related slowdowns and lockdowns. Faced with uncertainty as covid-19 drags on, many have reverted to old carbon-intensive habits to recharge their economies. Yet, there has also been an incredible ramp-up in the investment in renewable energy, which accounted for more than 70% of all new power generation in 2021.

• Europe’s green leadership maintained for a second year. In the 2022 rankings, 14 of the top 20 scorers have remained largely in place this year. Sixteen of the Green Leaders are from Europe: Iceland and Denmark still hold the number one and two spots, and third and fourth places are now held by the Netherlands and

• New leaders are innovators. New entrants to the top-ranked cohort represent an additional cluster
of European economies, as well as South Korea, Japan, and the United States; all three have seen significant rises in their innovation scores thanks to their world-beating green intellectual property contributions (South Korea leads the world in green patents) and notable increases in pivoting infrastructure spending toward clean and green projects.

In this year’s index, many countries are not maintaining the rate of change first brought about by pandemic- related slowdowns and lockdowns. Faced with uncertainty as covid-19 drags on, many have reverted to old carbon-intensive habits to recharge their economies. Yet, there has also been an incredible ramp-up in the investment in renewable energy, which accounted for more than 70% of all new power generation in 2021.

… as 2021 unfolded, several signals indicated that, instead of heeding the wake-up calls and seizing the opportunities revealed by the pandemic, the world had collectively hit the snooze button. For one, a world desperate to get back on track economically quickly resumed “normal” modes of manufacturing and production. China, still the world’s factory, saw its export values surge over 20% in 2021. And while China continues to lead the world in clean energy development and has committed to phase out coal-fired power generation as part of its 2060 carbon neutrality pledge, the manufacturing giant’s energy needs continue to grow apace. The IEA saw global energy demand increase by 4.6% in 2021, more than offsetting the 4% drop in 2020.

Report available from https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/03/24/1048253/the-green-future-index-2022/

The report was sponsored by Morgan Stanley, Citrix, and Iris Ceramica Group.

The top 10:

Source: Same as above

Iceland tops the list. The entire island is basically one big volcano, so Iceland is one of the few places in the world where geothermal energy is an economically viable option. And we all know greens love geothermal – fracking to release geothermal energy is somehow different to hydrocarbon fracking, so Iceland topping lists of green champions is pretty much a given.

The USA places 21st, behind Canada at 15th place – so I guess MIT is not completely sold on the progress of President Biden’s Green New Deal Build Back Better.

There is some good news. MIT notes some nations have “reverted to old carbon-intensive habits”. I’m guessing at least some national politicians are finally prioritizing economic security, pragmatism and energy security over maintaining a high ranking on MIT’s green virtue list.

via Watts Up With That?

April 19, 2022