The United Kingdom took top rank in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s 12 major economies, according to a new study from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The U.K. was followed closely by Germany, Italy and Japan, with the U.S. coming in ninth. The ACEEE didn’t mince words, noting that the U.S. has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level” in the past decade.
The rankings were determined by compiling scores across 27 distinct categories in four sectors: national efforts, buildings, industry and transportation. The U.K. had 67 out of 100 points, but the average score was just 54 out of 100, showing that each country has serious weaknesses.
The 12 economies represent more than 78 percent of global gross domestic product and 63 percent of global energy consumption.
“The U.K. and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. This is significant because countries that use energy more efficiently require fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and creating jobs,” Steven Nadel, executive director of ACEEE, said in a statement.
Other countries ranked as follows from second place to twelfth: Germany, Italy, Japan, France, the European Union, Australia, and China (a three-way tie for sixth place), the U.S. at ninth, followed by Brazil, Canada and Russia.
For many countries, one bad score in a category dropped the ranking so significantly that gains in other areas could not make up for the loss. Australia had one of the highest scores in the category of national efforts, but did poorly in the transportation and industry sectors. No country received a free pass in the rankings. “The analysis also revealed that while some countries are clearly outperforming others,” the authors wrote, “the biggest story is how poorly all these economies are doing overall.”