Foul air pulls India to bottom of green performance index

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India has figured at the bottom of the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranking of 180 countries, released by US-based institutions last week.

The US, the largest historical polluter is ranked 43rd, while the current biggest emitter China has been ranked at the 160th position. Denmark, the UK, Finland, Malta and Sweden occupy the top five slots, while countries from south and southeast Asia are placed at the bottom five.

The ranking is based on an assessment of 40 performance indicators, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

India’s lowest rank is attributed to its air pollution and rapidly rising GHG emissions.

The EPI has been prepared by researchers of the Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy and the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network Earth Institute, Columbia University. “These indicators measure how close countries are to meeting internationally established sustainability targets for specific environmental issues,” said the report carrying 2022 EPI.

Although the researchers claimed that most of the data used by them, were verified by a third party, the findings or such ranking practices are not fully accepted by the environment ministry in India, citing extrapolation of data and generalisation of conclusions that don’t factor in national circumstances.

The authors of the rankings claimed that they do not accept data that comes directly from the government. Referring to low-scoring countries such as India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the report said, “Most low scoring countries are those that have prioritised economic growth over sustainability, or those that are struggling with civil unrest and other crises. “