Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Iceland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges, according to the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University. Released at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010, the EPI ranks 163 countries on their performance across 25 metrics aggregated into ten categories including: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change. Iceland’s top-notch performance derives from its high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation. Other top performers include Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway – all of which have made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control, and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability. Occupying the bottom five positions are Togo, Angola, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone –impoverished countries that lack basic environmental amenities and policy capacity. Of the newly industrialized nations, China and India rank 121st and 123rd respectively – reflecting the strain rapid economic growth imposes on the environment. However, Brazil and Russia rank 62nd and 69th, suggesting that the level of development is just one of many factors affecting placement in the rankings.

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