Jan 29, 2010


NY Times -  A new ranking of the world's nations by environmental performance puts some of the globe's largest economies far down the list, with the United States sinking to 61st and China to 121st.

In the previous version of the Environmental Performance Index, compiled every two years by Yale and Columbia University researchers, the United States ranked 39th, and China 105th.

The top performer this year is Iceland, which gets virtually all of its power from renewable sources — hydropower and geothermal energy. It was joined in the top tier by a cluster of European countries known for their green efforts, including Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

"Countries that take seriously the environment as a policy challenge do improve, and those that don't deteriorate," said Daniel C. Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, who oversees the index project. "Both the U.S. and China are suffering because they're industrial and haven't been paying much attention to environmental policy."

The index, viewable online at epi.yale.edu, assigns each country a cumulative score based on its performance in areas that include environmental health, preservation of habitat and reductions in greenhouse gases, air pollution and waste.

Costa Rica and Colombia remained in the top ranks. Costa Rica has made important efforts to conserve its rain forest, and Colombia has led the way in shifting to fuel-efficient mass transit... read full at NY Times