As we mark the start of 2019, discussions about climate change continue with the release of an annual report detailing different countries' role in the battle.
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2019 gives a breakdown of 60 different countries' efforts in the fight against climate change over the course of 2018. In it, Morocco was named the fourth best country, while Saudi Arabia was named the worst.
The CCPI - compiled by more than 350 climate and energy experts around the world - is based on a number of climate change indicators including each country's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG.) It also examines "renewable energy," "energy use," and "climate policy" to depict the country's performance.
The index also details the progress made by the different countries in implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement which aims to create a sustainable low carbon future.
According to the index, Sweden was the best performing country in 2018, scoring 76 out of 100. The Scandinavian nation was followed by Morocco, which scored 70 out of 100.
In recent years, the North African country has increased its efforts to promote renewable energy. In fact, Morocco's King Mohammed VI received an award in 2017 for his "visionary" leadership in renewable energy.
"With the connection of the world's largest solar plant and multiple new wind farms to the grid, the country is well on track for achieving its target of 42 percent installed renewable energy capacity by 2020 and 52 percent by 2030," the CCPI report states.
Morocco has become a leader in pursuing sustainable energy solutions, with plans to care for 42 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 52 percent by 2030. The kingdom also aims to reduce green house gas emissions by 32 percent within 15 years.
One of the kingdom's most ambitious renewable energy projects is the Noor solar power plant in Ouarzazate. With hundreds of curved mirrors covering some 1,400,000 square meters of desert – an area the size of 200 football fields – the first phase of the project has already surpassed expectations.
Saudi Arabia was named the "worst" despite its efforts
Saudi Arabia ranked at the bottom of the CCPI, scoring 8 out of 100 on the index.
In 2017, the kingdom's energy minister Khaled al-Falih revealed the kingdom's plans to invest tens of billions in renewable energy sources. Al-Falih explained that the kingdom is seeking to "become a nation that develops, manufactures and exports the advanced technologies of renewable energy production."
Currently, less than 1 percent of Saudi Arabia's energy is renewable and nearly all of the kingdom's domestic power currently comes from crude, refined oil, or natural gas.