Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Iceland Leads World in Evironmental Protection

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland. Photo courtesy: O Palsson via flickr

Paradise? Sure looks like it to me!

This is Gullfoss (Golden) Waterfall, Iceland. What an absolutely breath-taking sight. Gullfoss Waterfall is located in the nation considered first in the world to be meeting their environmental policy goals.

A new survey, presented at the World Economic Forum, was produced by Yale University and Columbia University. The Environmental Performance Index measures the performances of 163 countries in ten categories. These categories include such considerations as environmental health, natural resource management, biodiversity, agriculture and climate change. The categories add up to a total of 100 points that can be earned by each country.

Iceland, (when can I move?), earned a staggering 93.5 out of 100 points making Iceland the obvious winner. Combine this score with such natural wonders as the Gullfoss Waterfalls; and, I could be persuaded to give up hearth and home and emigrate.

Iceland received this astonishing score for its efforts for environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation efforts. The other four countries that make up the top five are: Switzerland (89.1), Costa Rica (86.4), Sweden (86.0) and Norway (81.1).

Canada (my home) came in at 41st. Coming in behind such industrialized nations as the UK, Germany and Japan, the US came in at 61st. The US scored high in forest sustainability and the provision of safe drinking water; but, they lost serious ground in the high greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution portions. 

Some of the countries that were in a similar ranking to the US are: Paraguay, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Poland, Venezuela, Israel and Thailand. The report authors are quick to note that this score does not represent the more recent efforts by the Obama administration. This report only includes data prior to 2009.

As a note of interest, among the newly-industrialized nations Brazil and Russia rank in the same range as the US – Brazil (62nd) and Russia (69th). However, considering the industrialization in both China and India, they rank quite low on the scale – China (121st) and India (123rd).

It comes as a surprise to no one that the bottom five countries on the list are horribly impoverished, financially destitute nations in Africa: Togo (36.4/100), Angola (36.3/100), Mauritania (33.7/100), Central African Republic (33.3/100) and Sierra Leone (32.1/100).

Click here for a full list: Environmental Performance Index 2010

Via TreeHugger

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