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Under the Stephen Harper government, Canada continues to perform very poorly on climate change.

Canada is ranked in 54th place out of 61 countries in the 2012 Climate Change Performance Index. The annual study is published by the social research group Germanwatch and Climate Action Network – Europe. Canada was ranked in 57th place in 2011 and has consistently been among the worst-performing countries in the world that are assessed.

The rankings are made based on each nation’s emissions trends, emission levels and climate policy (both domestic and international). Canada is among a handful of countries (a group that also includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Italy and Turkey) centered out for having “especially bad” international climate change polices.

Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany are the best-performing countries on the 2012 index. Australia made a notable jump up ten index points by recently enacting a nation-wide carbon tax.   

The study is annually released at the Conference of the Parties (COP) United Nations Climate Change Summit. More than 200 experts from non-governmental organizations contribute to the index.

Among the report’s more dire conclusions, the authors state: “Results are poor across the board and inadequate by far to meet the 2ºC limit set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun.”

Climate change negotiations are into their second week at the UN talks in Durban.