Is the Environmental Performance Index really faulty?

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Is the Environmental Performance Index really faulty?

  • Last month, India opposed its placement on the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) developed by experts at Yale and Columbia Universities in the United States.

Environmental Performance Index:

  • An international rating system that assesses a country's environmental state and sustainability.
  • The World Economic Forum created the Environmental Sustainability Index in 2002 as a biennial index in partnership with the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University Centre for International Earth Science Information Network.

Important Revelations:

  • Denmark led the rankings for 2022, reflecting great performance on all problems covered by the EPI, as well as outstanding leadership in efforts to promote a clean energy future and sustainable agriculture.
  • The United Kingdom is placed second and Finland is ranked third, with both receiving good marks for lowering greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.
  • The United States is placed 20th in the global West out of 22 prosperous/thriving democracies, and 43rd worldwide.
  • India is ranked 180th with a score of 18.9, below Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
  • India also ranks poorly in terms of rule of law, corruption control, and government performance.

Why Is India Ranked at The Bottom?

  • According to the research, India prioritised economic expansion over environmental protection.
  • It has very poor air quality and rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why Was the Report Rejected By India?

  • According to the Indian government, the study relied on several indications based on incorrect assumptions.
  • The technique does not take into account per capita emissions or differences in socioeconomic situations across nations.
  • The importance of parameters in which India performed well has been decreased.
  • Forests and wetlands, which operate as important carbon sinks, were not taken into account when EPI 2022 calculated the predicted GHG emissions trajectory up to 2050.
  • Critical carbon sinks that attenuate GHG emissions, such as forests and wetlands, have been overlooked.
  • There is no mention of renewable energy, energy efficiency, or process optimization.
  • The indicator emphasises the size of protected areas rather than the level of protection they provide; the computation of biodiversity indices does not take into account the management efficacy of protected areas.

Way Ahead

  • Regardless of the anomalies, the government should not disregard the fact that India was ranked 168th in 2020 and has never been ranked in the top 150 countries since the index's inception.
  • Regardless of the EPI difficulties, India has serious local environmental challenges that have been identified in the study and must be addressed.
  • It is critical to focus on long-term growth paths that India must now pursue.