New Global Environmental Performance Rankings Released

The Dirt reports on findings disclosed by this year's iteration of the Yale and Columbia University produced Environmental Performance Index (EPI). A new metric unveiled this year tracks the trend in each country's environmental performance.

2 minute read

June 8, 2012, 9:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


This year marks the seventh iteration of efforts by the two Ivy League universities to "provide science-based quantitative metrics as an aid to achieving long-term sustainable development goals." The EPI "ranks 132 countries on 22 performance indicators spanning ten policy categories, which track performance and progress on two broad objectives: environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The index is heavily weighted towards indicators of ecosystem vitality (70 percent), with the rest of a country's performance determined by numbers from environmental health indicators."

Switzerland came out on top of this year's index due to its leadership in "addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges." The big surprise in the top ten, which is filled with "European countries with high per-capita income levels" is the ranking of 5th place Costa Rica, "a middle-income country that has made significant investments in sustainable development, preserving its natural resources, and reducing pollution."

"The U.S., which ranked a sad 61st place in 2010, is now 49th, which is still much lower than it should be."

The inaugural trend report indicated that most countries have trended upwards between 2000 to 2010. Of those headed in the opposite direction, "Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Russia were countries with the worst negative trends. Russia, at the very bottom of the Trend EPI ranking, has suffered a severe breakdown in environmental health as well as performance declines related to over-fishing and forest loss. It shows declines in every category except for slight improvements in sulfur dioxide emissions, though levels are still far below target."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in THE DIRT

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

Purple buss pulls up to bus stop in green bus lane.

Nashville Proposes $3.1B Plan to Expand Bus System

The plan will hinge on voter approval of a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.

26 minutes ago - Tennessean

Renewable Energy

Just Transition: Bringing Equity to the Clean Energy Conversation

A new report from the Environmental Defense Fund offers a roadmap for countries, energy companies, and other stakeholders to navigate the complexities of transitioning to clean energy while ensuring equity at every step of the process.

1 hour ago - Environmental Defense Fund

Black car parked in bike lane

New App Pays Users to Report Illegally Parked Cars

A Swedish company is leveraging the power of crowdsourcing and the gig economy to enforce parking laws.

2 hours ago - Euronews

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.