Australia worst performer on climate change - report

Smoke and ash from wildfires burning across the state of New South Wales blankets the Sydney city skyline. Photo: October 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sydney's skyline was blanketed by ash and smoke from raging fires last year

Australia was the worst performing industrial country in terms of climate change in 2014, a new report has said.

The report by two non-government organisations said the poor ranking was due in part to policy changes made by the current coalition government.

The Climate Change Performance Index ranks emissions and climate policies of the 58 highest CO2 emitters worldwide.

It ranked Denmark as the best performing nation, followed by Sweden and the UK.

Saudi Arabia ranked last on the index.

Carbon tax scrapped

The report was published by Germanwatch and CAN Europe.

It said Australia's conservative government had kept its election promises to reverse a number of climate policies.

"As a result, the country lost a further 21 positions in the policy evaluation compared with last year (2013), thus replacing Canada as the worst performing industrial country."

Since it took office in 2013, Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government has scrapped a tax on carbon and wants to halve the country's legislated renewable energy target.

It has yet to secure enough votes in the senate to cut the target, which has created uncertainty for renewable energy investors.

The Climate Change Performance Index is compiled with the help of about 300 energy and international climate experts and reviews each country's national and international policies with respect to their efforts to avoid climate change.

More on this story