The key findings of this year’s report are as follows:
Europe’s Green Leadership maintained for a second year. In the 2022 rankings, 14 of the top 20 scorers have remained largely in place year over year. Sixteen of the “Green Leaders” are from Europe: Iceland and Denmark still hold the number one and two spots, respectively, and third and fourth places are now held by the Netherlands and the UK. The UK (ranked 17th last year) has become particularly aggressive in directing investment toward its clean energy transition: nearly 36% of the country’s power came from clean sources toward the end of 2021, and Britain intends for that percentage to be 100% by 2035.
New leaders are innovators. New entrants to the top-ranked cohort include South Korea, Japan, and the United States; all three have seen significant rises in their innovation scores thanks to their world-leading green intellectual property contributions (Korea leads the world in green patents) and notable increases in pivoting infrastructure spending toward clean and green projects.
Many move up to the Greening Middle. The Greening Middle includes several European countries that have made significant policy and energy infrastructure investment gains, including Greece, which has earmarked 30% of its total EU recovery fund package for clean energy transition efforts. It also includes China (rising from 45th in 2021 to 26th in 2022), which continues to make significant gains in green society transitions (including purchasing more than half of the world’s electric vehicles in 2021).
Several Green Leaders lose momentum. The steady rise of Green Leaders demonstrates the determination of economies with both committed policy infrastructure and mature green innovation ecosystems. It also highlights a widening gap between leaders with strong scores in all pillars and those where one or more pillars is weaker. Several previous Green Leaders appear to have lost momentum, including Singapore, New Zealand, and Costa Rica, which fell from seventh in 2021 to 20th in 2022.
Climate Laggards include notable sliders and risers. The Climate Laggards cohort includes India, which has begun to make firmer policy commitments to decarbonization, but its green efforts are overshadowed by an ongoing pandemic recovery plan that continues to favor traditional industries. By contrast, a couple of economies (notably Pakistan and Hong Kong) have seen increased green infrastructure investment and firmer sustainable policy frameworks, raising their scores out of the lowest cohort.
The pandemic challenged already weighed-down Climate Abstainers. Last-ranked Climate Abstainers have largely remained the same as 2021: economies that either lack political will to pursue green agendas or are even more weighed down by their existing resource-based economies to make any real headway, especially as the effects of the pandemic continue into a third year. These include two countries that have seen their green agendas far overshadowed by the detrimental effects of covid-19: Argentina (dropping from 59th to 68th this year) and Indonesia (falling from 57th to 70th).