It lacks the glitz or glamour of the Olympics but the UK won a race that really does matter on Thursday, taking the gold in energy efficiency.
A report launched in Washington by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on Thursday ranked the UK first among the world’s 12 largest economies for reducing pollution in industry, transport, and buildings.
Medal power house America was humbled, dragged down to ninth place because of its long-running love affair with gas-guzzling cars.
The US was beaten by Germany and Italy, who occupied second and third place respectively, and even China, which is currently the world’s biggest carbon polluter.
China shared sixth place with the EU and Australia. Canada and Russia brought up the rear in 11th and 12th place.
India, whose emissions have also been rising rapidly, was not rated.
The UK energy secretary, Ed Davey, said he welcomed the recognition. “Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our policies to encourage low-carbon growth,” he said in a statement.
But none of the countries put in truly stellar performance. The UK earned just 67 out of a possible 100 points.
The study calculated each country’s efforts to reduce energy use in industry, transport, and buildings, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in developed economies, as well as overall policies.
The UK took top place for energy savings in industry and transport.
America was weighed down by its investment in roads, rather than public transit, but lifted its score by adopting stronger builder codes and energy standards for appliances.
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