The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index 2021

  • Scandinavia keeps topping the GSCI: Sweden is leading the Sustainable Competitiveness Index, closely followed by Denmark, Iceland & Finland, while Norway is ranked 9
  • The top 20 are dominated by Northern European countries, including the Baltic states
  • Of the top twenty nations only one is not European – New Zealand on 11
  • The UK is ranked 15, Germany 22
  • The World’s largest economy, the US, is ranked 32. The US ranks particularly low in resource efficiency, but also social capital – potentially undermining the global status of the US in the future
  • Of the large emerging economies (BRICs), China is ranked 37, Brazil 49, Russia 51, and India 130.
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In Global Energy Crisis, Anti-Nuclear Chickens Come Home to Roost

In virtually every country that has closed nuclear plants, clean electricity has been replaced with dirty power.

By Ted Nordhaus

OCTOBER 8, 2021, 5:18 PM

The cooling tower at the Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant collapses during a controlled demolition near Koblenz, Germany, on Aug. 9, 2019. The plant was shut down on Sept. 9, 1988. THOMAS FREY/DPA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

For years, the proponents of wind and solar energy have promised us a green future with electricity too cheap to meter, new energy infrastructure with little environmental impact on the land, and deep cuts in carbon emissions. But despite the rapid growth of renewable energy, that future has yet to materialize. Instead, many of the places that are furthest along in transitioning to renewable energy are today facing a crisis of power shortages, sky-high electricity prices, and flat or rising carbon emissions.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered companies owning backup diesel generators to operate them nonstop when electricity demand is high in order to avoid rolling blackouts. In Britain, exploding natural gas prices have shuttered factories, bankrupted power companies, and threaten to cause food shortages. Germany, meanwhile, is set for the biggest jump in greenhouse emissions in 30 years due to surging use of coal for power generation, which the country depends on to back up weather-dependent wind and solar energy and fill the hole left by its shuttered nuclear plants.

The proximate cause of all these crises has been surging natural gas prices as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the underlying problem is that despite huge bets on renewable energy over the last several decades, California, Britain, and Germany have chosen fossil fuels over carbon-free nuclear energy to backstop their electrical systems.

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