India’s rejection of global environment report ‘perilous’
India ranked as the world’s least environmentally sustainable country as it challenges the methodology of the Environmental Performance Index 2022.
The chief investigator of a crucial environmental assessment that placed India as the world's least environmentally sustainable country has blasted the country's rejection of the findings.
Martin Wolf responded to India's rejection of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 by saying that "flatly dismissing evidence that highlights the severity of environmental concerns is unproductive and risky." Instead, he urged authorities to use the findings to set the country on a more sustainable path.
The EPI 2022 report, released on World Environment Day (5 June) by Yale and Columbia universities, examined and ranked 180 nations on 40 performance indicators encompassing climate change, environmental public health, and ecosystem vitality.
Least environmentally sustainable
In the report, India was ranked last and was labeled as the least environmentally sustainable country. Close neighbors Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan all outperformed India.
The indicators measure how near countries are meeting stated environmental policy targets on a national basis. A report summary on Yale University's website presents a scorecard that recognizes "leaders and laggards" in environmental performance, and provides practical suggestions for countries seeking to progress toward a more sustainable future.
High-scoring countries, according to the EPI report summary, have longstanding and ongoing investments in policies that safeguard environmental health, maintain biodiversity and habitat, conserve natural resources, and decouple greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth.
Denmark tops the 2022 rankings because of good performance across nearly all EPI areas, including considerable leadership in efforts to create a clean energy future and sustainable agriculture. The United Kingdom and Finland came in second and third, respectively, with strong marks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The United States is ranked 20th out of 22 affluent states and 43rd overall. This relatively low ranking reflects the Trump Administration's rollback of environmental protections, according to the report summary, adding that the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and weakened methane emissions rules, in particular, meant the US lost valuable time to mitigate climate change.
India rejects the report
Dissatisfied with the report's results, India's Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change launched a vehement reply, claiming that some of the measures used to gauge performance were "extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific procedures."
India insists on its assessment of the Projected GhG Emissions levels in 2050. “This is computed based on the average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modeling that takes into account a longer period, the extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency, etc. of respective countries,” the ministry’s rebuttal stated.
The ministry claims that the country's forests and wetlands, which serve as critical carbon sinks, were not taken into account when calculating the estimated greenhouse gas emissions trajectory through 2050. It claims that the idea of equity, or per capita emissions, has been given very little weight, even though its contribution to global emissions is significantly less than that of the US or the EU.