Norway tops zero-carbon index, U.S. improves

Norway topped the list of countries developing a zero-carbon environment, according to a recently released study.

The study by London-based Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors showed Brazil in second place and the United Kingdom in third. China and Australia filled out the top five, tying for fourth place. The institute commissioned the the Environment Institute at University College London to develop the Global Zero Carbon Capacity Index, which seeks to gauge progress made toward "decarbonised built environment at the national level."

The United States came in at No. 25, just behind Mexico at No. 24.

The index measures energy consumption in residential, industry and transportation; the share of renewable energy in terms of total production; and policies that promote "zero-carbon
built environments."

"Governments must provide incentives and implement initiatives to create a zero-carbon built environment," said Stephen Brown, the institute's head of research, to

The study highlighted the importance of energy efficiency retrofits in buildings. It cited statistics from the International Energy Association, which said, buildings consume 40 percent of total energy demand today and will account for 30 percent of projected growth between now and 2050.

The rest of the rankings look like this: New Zealand No. 6, India No. 7, Austria No. 8, Germany No. 9 and Sweden No. 10.

"The countries that have made the greatest improvements in their ranking are the Slovak Republic, France, Germany and USA," said Yvonne Rydin, the report's author. "However, the absolute improvement in Index score for
the USA is less than that for the other countries, reflecting less movement in the individual indicators."