Rio+20 rejects notion of ‘planetary boundaries,’ but are there consequences for the Environmental Performance Index?
In the September 2009 edition of Nature, Rockstöm and colleagues proposed a range of essential Earth-system processes and their biophysical thresholds, or ‘planetary boundaries’, that, if exceeded, could lead to catastrophic environmental changes. Earlier this year, the planetary boundaries concept was accepted into the ‘Zero Draft’ of the Rio+20 conference as an essential element in negotiations toward setting environmentally related goals. However, following heavy scientific criticism, the concept was excluded from the Summit’s final statement in June.
A research team led by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University completed in late 2011 the first steps in a large-scale effort to track progress in the governance and management of China’s environment. The effort, published in the report Towards a China Environmental Performance Index, proposed a framework for aggregating diverse environmental health and ecosystem impact data from across China’s 31 provinces, and for comparing these data to the national and subnational environmental policy goals of the Chinese government. MORE
Several new user-friendly spreadsheets are now available for the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and the Pilot Trend EPI, as well as a Historical EPI spreadsheet that includes back-casted rankings for countries over the last decade. These documents provide step-by-step calculations, methods, and a data dictionary that can walk a user through the scores and rankings for 132 countries represented in the EPI analyses. They are available for download in Excel format. MORE
Many individuals interested in the EPI have asked why some nations have been excluded from our rankings. Did we hand pick the 132 countries that were included in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)? Were they selected based on some standard for data quality? Why leave some countries out of a worldwide ranking? MORE
This post originally appeared on State of the Planet, the Earth Institute's blog.
In January, 132 countries received their environmental report cards. The Environmental Performance Index, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, ranked countries on aspects of environmental impacts on human health and on ecosystems. The rankings were based on scores each country earned on 22 indicators dealing with environmental health, air pollution, water, biodiversity and habitat, agriculture, forests, fisheries, and climate change and energy. Coming in at first place on the 2012 EPI is Switzerland, with Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg, and Costa Rica rounding out the top five. The U.S is ranked 49th and Iraq is in last place. MORE
My colleagues and I recently released the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Countries that ranked high rejoiced; those low on the list sought explanation.
Nobody wants to look bad.
The EPI is a biennial report produced jointly by Yale and Columbia Universities that ranks countries on their environmental performance across a variety of measures, from pesticide regulation and forest loss to child mortality. There were 22 measures this year, each categorized under one of two overarching categories: environmental health or ecosystem vitality. After long hours of number crunching, the EPI produces a single number that ranks countries against each other. (You can find your country's rank here.) MORE