India has ranked 168th out of 180 in the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI); the country faces serious environmental health risks [Al Jazeera]

India Ranks 168th on Environmental Performance Index

India ranked 168th out of 180 countries in the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), researchers at Yale and Columbia University say the country faces serious environmental health risks, including poor air quality

In the 2020 EPI – a biennial scorecard of national results on a range of sustainability issues – Denmark has ranked first in the world, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany in the top 10 countries. While Japan has ranked 12th, the United States of America ranks 24th, and China stands at 120th.

The survey is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia universities. They say India’s decarburization agenda needs to accelerate. The EPI report has now become the premier metrics framework for global environmental policy analysis. It ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 issue categories. It covers both environmental health and ecosystem vitality. As per the researchers, countries which scored higher, generally exhibit long-term commitments and carefully constructed programs to protect public health, conserve natural resources, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Looking at South Asia, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have done relatively better, scoring 107th and 109th places respectively. They are followed by Maldives (127th), Pakistan (142nd), Nepal (145th), and Bangladesh (162nd). India comes in near the bottom of the global rankings at 168th place worldwide, and only Afghanistan (178th place) ranks below India in Southern Asia.

For air quality, India and Pakistan both rank at the very bottom of the 2020 EPI, at 179th and 180th places, respectively. On biodiversity and habitat, India places 148th in the world, failing to maximize the conservation potential of its protected areas, especially in marine ecosystems.

Perhaps the most worrisome is that India places 106th in the world on climate change mitigation.

The 2020 EPI reveals that global progress on climate change has been halting. Despite its high regional ranking in the 2020 EPI, Sri Lanka\’s climate change score dropped by 12.5 out of 100 over the past ten years, due to heavy reliance on fossil fuels. India\’s score has also dropped, where as China’s has improved. Meeting the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement requires sustained cuts in emissions of all greenhouse gases, and the 2020 EPI finds that no country is decarbonizing quickly enough to meet these climate change goals. Some of India\’s neighbors do excel on individual greenhouse gas reductions, most notably Sri Lanka on methane and Pakistan on fluorinated gases, the EPI noted.


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