Growing and Greening

A recent report argues that for developing countries, improving environmental health is dependent on improving economic health. But proper governing is crucial in meeting these ends.

"After decades of expansion in China and other fast-emerging economies, some of the negative side-effects and their impact on human welfare, above all the death toll caused by foul air and water, are horribly clear. Yet the relationship between growth and the state of the environment is far from simple."

"Some new light has been cast by a team of researchers led by Daniel Esty of Yale University, who delivered their conclusions this week to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. What they presented was the latest annual Environmental Sustainability Index, which grades the "environmental health" of 150 countries-using many indicators, from population stress and eco-system health to social and institutional capacity. This year's report focuses on the link between the state of the environment and human health."

"In a nutshell, what the new report (also sponsored by the European Commission and Columbia University) suggests is that poor countries have been quite right to challenge the sort of green orthodoxy which rejects the very idea of economic growth. Indeed, the single biggest variable in determining a country's ranking is income per head. But that doesn't imply that economic growth automatically leads to an improvement in the environment."

Full Story: How green is their growth

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