The lead investigator of a major environmental report that ranks India as the world’s least environmentally-friendly country has criticized the country’s rejection of the findings.
In response to India’s rejection of the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Martin Wolf said that “the flat rejection of data that underscores the severity of environmental problems is unproductive and dangerous”. Instead, he urged policymakers to use the results to put the country back on track for a more sustainable future.
The EPI 2022 report, prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities and released on World Environment Day (June 5), ranked and ranked 180 countries on 40 performance indicators on climate change, environmental public health and ecosystem vitality.
India came last in the report and was ranked as the least environmentally friendly country. Its immediate neighbors – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan – all fared better than India.
At the national level, the indicators provide an indication of how close countries are to the environmental policy goals that have been set. A brief description of the report on Yale University’s website provides a scorecard that highlights “leaders and laggards” in environmental performance and provides practical guidance for countries moving towards a sustainable future.
According to the EPI report summary, countries with high scores demonstrate long-standing and continuous investment in policies that protect environmental health, preserve biodiversity and habitat, conserve natural resources, and decouple greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth.
Denmark tops the 2022 rankings – a feat based on strong performance in almost every issue tracked by the EPI, with notable leadership in efforts to promote a clean energy future and sustainable agriculture. The UK and Finland, second and third in the rankings, have received high scores for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The US ranks 20th among 22 prosperous democracies and 43rd overall. This relatively low ranking reflects the rollback of environmental protections during the Trump administration, explains the report’s executive summary, adding that the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and weakened regulations on methane emissions in particular caused the US to lose valuable time to curb climate change.
India rejects the report
Angered by the report’s findings, India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change issued a strong rebuttal, claiming that some of the indicators used to assess performance were “extrapolated and based on conjecture and unscientific methods”.
India insists on its own assessment of projected greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. “This is calculated based on the average rate of change in emissions over the past 10 years, rather than modeling that takes into account a longer period, the extent of renewable energy capacity and consumption, additional Carbon sinks, energy efficiency, etc. of the respective countries,” says the reply from the ministry.
The ministry argues that the country’s forests and wetlands, which are key carbon sinks, have not been taken into account when calculating the projected trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions up to 2050. The principle of equity, or per capita emissions, was also rated very low. Weight insists its contribution to global emissions is far less than that of the US or the EU.
Commenting on the EPI report, Sharachchandra Lele, Distinguished Fellow of the Bangalore-based AshokaTrust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, said that while the EPI report looks like “a flawed exercise”, India’s environmental performance is “very poor in the past”. been a decade or so because the government doesn’t take the environmental issues seriously.”
Lele said that a country’s environmental status is multidimensional and context-specific. “Trying to rank countries based on a common aggregate performance index is a tricky exercise at the best of times, involving a lot of value judgments about which dimensions to include and how to weight them,” he told SciDev.Net.
“The EPI’s biased approach to climate change has provided the government with an excuse to reject the index altogether, even as it reflects poor performance on other fronts.”
‘We are worried’
Wolf told SciDev.Net that the EPI team sticks to the idea that data-driven environmental metrics can improve policymaking — but only if leaders embrace science and act on the data.
“We are concerned that the Indian government has rejected the scientific basis underlying the analyzes of the EPI 2022. The EPI provides an opportunity for all countries to reflect on their environmental performance, identify their key sustainability challenges and work to revise and improve their policies. ‘ said Wolf.
“We hope that the Modi administration will consider the EPI as a tool to illustrate how empirically based evidence can improve India’s environmental conditions on multiple fronts, including air quality, climate change and biodiversity.”
He said the report highlights that Indian policies remain “largely at odds with sustainable development principles,” adding, “Air quality continues to deteriorate, greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating and poor water quality kills hundreds of thousands of Indian residents every year.” ”
Air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health, according to the EPI report
Provided by SciDev.Net
Citation: India’s rejection of global environmental report ‘dangerous’ (2022, June 20), retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-india-global-environment-perilous.html
This document is protected by copyright. Except for fair trade for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is for informational purposes only.