What Is the Environmental Performance Index?
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) measures the environmental impact of 180 nations’ policies and regulations. This index got its start in 2002 after the United Nations published its Millennium Development Goals. It was developed by the Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy, the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network, the World Economic Forum, and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission.
2016 Environmental Performance Index: Objectives, Issues, and Indicators
In 2016, the objectives of the EPI were split between environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The environmental health issues were: health impacts, air quality, and water and sanitation. The ecosystem vitality issues were: water resources, agriculture, forests, fisheries, biodiversity and habitats, and climate and energy. These issues were measured against specific indicators. These indicators measured environmental factors such as: air pollution, drinking water quality, marine protected areas, land protected areas, nitrogen balance, change in forest cover, species protection, and carbon intensity. Each of these indicators has an assigned score. The highest possible EPI score is 100.
Greenest Countries of 2016
According to the 2016 EPI results, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden are the most environmentally countries in the world.
Finland received a score of 90.68, making it the number one greenest country in the world. The EPI report claims that Finland has made significant efforts towards its 2050 goal of maintaining its carbon production levels below the earth’s carrying capacity. In addition, this country ranks number 4 in health impacts, number 8 in fisheries, and is in the top 20 for climate and energy, biodiversity and habitat, water resources, and air quality.
Iceland is the second greenest country in the world with a score of 90.51. The EPI reported that 100% of the energy is this country is produced by renewable resources, including wind and hydro power. Of this production, 25% comes from geothermal energy, which is more than in any other country. Iceland ranks number 3 in health impacts and climate and energy. Additionally, it is number 4 in air quality.
Sweden is the third greenest country in the world. Its EPI score for 2016 is 90.43. The report indicates that Sweden received almost perfect scores for the quality of drinking water and wastewater treatment. Unfortunately, this country has unsustainable timber industry practices that resulted in a low score for forest health. Overall, Sweden ranks number 5 in health impacts, number 10 in climate and energy, and is in the top 20 for water resources and water and sanitation.
Other top-performing countries can be found in the chart below.
Global Environmental Health
Since the implementation of both the UN Millennium Development Goals and the EPI reporting at the beginning of the 21st century, some global environmental factors have improved. For example, governments have moved to protect more marine areas and provide increased access to sanitation and clean drinking water for communities. However, the fishing industry has become progressively less sustainable and more detrimental to marine habitats and air pollution has increased around the world, particularly in large cities. Despite this, many more countries around the world are recognizing their responsibility to reducing and preventing climate change. In fact, 195 countries have recently committed to improving environmental health at the Climate Change Conference held in Paris last year. With their environmental efforts, perhaps next year more countries will rank higher on the EPI.
Which Are The Greenest Countries Of 2016?