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Australia has joined Canada in massively failing to adequately address climate change.

How bad is their performance? Both now trail Russia, the world's second-largest fossil fuels producer, in the latest edition of the Climate Change Performance Index. The report was released Monday by two global watchdog groups at the U.N.-sponsored climate talks in Lima.

Australia fell 21 positions in the annual ranking to become the worst-performing Western nation on climate. The report's authors blamed the anti-renewables agenda set by Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the plunge. Abbott was elected last fall.

"The new conservative Australian government has apparently made good on last year’s announcement and reversed the climate policies previously in effect," said the Climate Action Network and Germanwatch, the authors of the report.


Canada has ranked below Russia since 2007, the year after conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected. Canada also scored abysmally on renewables investment as money instead continued to pour into tar sands development.

"In Canada, nothing has changed and nothing is going forward at state level," the authors said. "Canada is about to miss its 2020 emissions reduction target by about 20% and the only effective policies in place are provincial initiatives."


Russia's overall score for 2015 did not improve, but its climate policy score climbed to "moderate" from "poor," putting it on par with France. Last year Moscow approved measures to encourage more renewable energy use, and made its target of cutting carbon emissions by 25 percent legally binding.

Here is what the bottom of the rankings now look like. Saudi Arabia has been the overall worst performer since the index began in 2006.


And here is the overall performance map. The index is mainly focused on countries in the "global north," as they are the largest CO2 emitters:


Denmark, Sweden and the U.K. were the top three finishers. The U.S. was unchanged at 44th place, one ahead of China.

The authors tried to sound an upbeat tonE for the rest of the world, noting emissions growth has slowed and renewables investment haS climbed.


"We see global trends indicating promising shifts in some of the most relevant sectors for climate protection," the authors said.

The Lima conference is expected to culminate Friday with a new set of provisional commitments that will form the basis for creating a new global compact at climate talks in Paris next year.


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.