India has been placed at the bottom on a list of 180 countries judged for their environmental performances by US-based institutions.
Denmark topped the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) published recently by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, followed by the UK and Finland, which earned high scores for slashing greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.
The EPI provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world.
Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national scale of how close the countries are to established environmental policy targets.
“The lowest scores go to India (18.9), Myanmar (19.4), Vietnam (20.1), Bangladesh (23.1) and Pakistan (24.6). Most low-scoring countries are those that have prioritised economic growth over sustainability, or those that are struggling with civil unrest and other crises. India, with increasingly dangerous air quality and rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions, falls to the bottom of rankings for the first time,” the report read.
China is placed 161st, with an overall EPI score of 28.4.
China and India are projected to be the largest and second-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in 2050, despite recently promising to curb emission growth rates, the researchers claimed.
Lagging its peers, the United States is placed 20th out of 22 wealthy democracies in the Global West and 43rd overall. This relatively low ranking reflects the rollback of environmental protections during the Trump administration, the EPI report said.
It said only a handful of countries, including Denmark and the UK, are currently slated to reach greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050.
“Many other nations are headed in the wrong direction, with rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions in major countries like China, India and Russia,” the report read.
Russia is ranked 112th on the list.
EPI projections indicate that just four countries — China, India, the US and Russia — will account for over 50 per cent of residual global greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 if current trends hold.