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Thu 11 Dec 2008 12:35 PM

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Saudi Arabia bottom of world list on emissions

Kingdom named worst country for tackling greenhouse gases for second year running.

Saudi Arabia has been named as the worst country in the world for tackling emissions of greenhouse gases.

According to the annual Climate Change Performance Index, the kingdom came bottom - the second year in succession - while no awards were given for the first three places, an indication that no country had performed well enough.

"Not a single country is to be judged as satisfactory with regard to protecting the climate," the NGOs Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said.

No country had shown willingness "to engage themselves more strongly" to avoid dangerous climate change, they added.

The groups categorised dangerous climate change as an increase in temperature beyond two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

Sweden came top of the pile with fourth place and was followed by Germany, France, India, Brazil, Britain and Denmark.

The bottom 10 were listed in descending order as Greece, Malaysia, Cyprus, Russia, Australia, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

The Climate Change Performance Index compares 57 states that together emit more than 90 percent of the world's annual output of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas.

The benchmark is derived from 12 national indicators, based on the emissions level, emissions trend and climate policy.

In last year's index, the top three places were awarded to Sweden, Germany and Iceland and the bottom three to Australia, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The 2C (3.6 F) warming target is embraced by the European Union (EU) as well as many green groups. Scientists are generally circumspect, saying there is no guarantee that achieving this figure will avoid inflicting bad damage to Earth's fragile climate system.

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