Australia’s Green Future Index Rank Tanks

MIT Green Future Index and Australia

MIT Technology’s Review’s Green Future Index 2022 doesn’t paint a particularly flattering overall picture of Australia’s efforts towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.

Released a few weeks ago, the report barely rated a mention here. This is the second edition of the comparative ranking of 76 nations and territories indicating how these economies are tracking in terms of investment in renewables, innovation, and green policy.

2021 vs. 2022 Rankings

Last year in the first Green Future Index, Australia found itself around the middle of the pack, with an overall ranking of 35 and within the category of 20 countries considered to be “making progress or commitment toward building a green future”.

In terms of specific areas, Australia’s rankings for each in 2021:

  • Carbon emissions – 49th
  • Energy transition – 59th
  • Green society – 18th
  • Clean innovation – 55th
  • Climate policy – 23rd

In the 2022 report, Australia had slipped – or more accurately tumbled – to 52nd; finding itself in the category of 20 countries “making slow and uneven progress or commitment toward building a green future”.

Australia’s rankings in each area in 2022:

  • Carbon emissions – 21st
  • Energy transition – 60th
  • Green society – 21st
  • Clean innovation – 68th
  • Climate policy – 47th

While Australia moved up strongly in the area of carbon emissions, it went backwards in the others; with clean innovation and climate policy really dragging down the overall rank

The summary notes:

“Australia did not sign the COP26 pledge to phase out coal by 2030, but is speeding up some transition targets, such as closing its biggest coal-fired power station by 2025, seven years ahead of schedule.”

Australia also failed to sign the Global Methane Pledge at COP26, which is a commitment to reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas 30% by 2030. More than 100 nations signed on to the pledge.

The announcement concerning the closure of Eraring Power Station seven years early referred to in the Index’s notes was certainly not welcomed by the Morrison Government either. Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor called the decision “bitterly disappointing”. Progress on Australia’s coal power exit has been more about the market than Morrison.

Among the many countries ahead of Australia in overall rankings in this year’s Index are the UK, USA, Canada and even China.

The Russian Invasion Wildcard

Research for The Green Future Index 2022 finished up in January 2022, prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The report’s authors note:

“That conflict is likely to have far-reaching and ongoing implications for the sustainability efforts of countries all around the world. While MIT Technology Review Insights has attempted to relay the most accurate information possible, we can expect the economic, social, and political climate to continue to shift.”

While the issue of a “green future” is probably ranking pretty low on the minds of both country’s governments and people at the moment, the Index ranked Ukraine 61st and Russia 64th prior to things really going to hell.

Summary information from the Green Future Index 2022 can be viewed here and the full report here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. After seeing the latest honest government ad on carbon credits, i am starting to think even the little progress i thought was happening is less then I realized.
    Apparently 70% of our carbon credits are worthless, and are added just to reduce the cost of the credits to save money for the fossil fuel companies purchasing them.
    In a non corrupt system they would be worth a lot more and be contributing a larger portion to peoples solar systems, making them much cheaper.

  2. Geoff Miell says

    MIT Technology’s Review’s Green Future Index 2022 doesn’t paint a particularly flattering overall picture of Australia’s efforts towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.

    I’d suggest many of our political and business leaders (and most of the media) have been and continue to ignore many warnings and miss many opportunities over the last five decades (and even now) that are against Australia’s long-term best interests.

    The ABC Radio National’s latest podcast multi-part series with Matt Bevan examines the story of Australia’s turbulent history with climate change, and what that means for our future. Episodes include:

    S06 E1 – The legacy of our first decisions on climate change
    S06 E2 – How we became addicted to coal
    S06 E3 – How long will the world want our coal?
    S06 E4 – The decade when climate change became a culture war
    S06 E5 – What we missed while we were knifing PMs
    S06 E6 – Can we keep digging for energy?
    S06 E7 – The countdown on coal fired power
    S06 E8 – The 49-year-old energy prophecy that is finally coming true

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