The last two decades have witnessed an explosion in the publication of country indexes that measure and rank the relative national policy performances of governments. To illustrate the challenges of using and applying these tools we focus on those four indexes that have been specifically designed in response to the emergence of the relatively new policy area of climate change. We investigate if and how these tools provide information about the evolving landscape of climate policy in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, widely considered the future battleground of climate policy. We find that even for this relatively narrow area different methodologies exist. Interpreting and applying climate policy indexes across countries therefore requires a solid understanding of underlying objectives and data used for each index. A clear gap is the underrepresentation of adaptation policy in all four indexes. Our investigation concludes with a reflection on how climate policy indexes are currently applied, including business planning. These tools provide informative pointers that can be of use for stakeholders, nevertheless they should not be considered in isolation, but need to be complemented by a broader view on what is driving particular responses to climate change in a country.


Suminski, S. and Williamson, A. January 2014. Policy indexes as tools for decision makers – the case of climate policy. Global Policy.

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