India ranked lowest among 180 nations in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) published recently by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, followed by the UK and Finland. Denmark topped the list.
Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality. “India, with increasingly dangerous air quality and rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions, falls to the bottom of rankings for the first time,” the report read.
But the Indian government in a press release has deemed the indicators flawed and provided eleven reasons why it does not accept its analysis and conclusions the report presents.
The ministry has pointed out that the indicators on water quality, water use efficiency, and waste generation per capita which are closely linked to sustainable consumption and production are not included in the index.
It also said that indicators like agro biodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste are not included even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations.
“Efforts must be made to include metrics that truly capture ecosystem productivity such that regulatory, provisioning as well as cultural services provided by various ecosystems like forests, wetlands, croplands are assessed and reflected in performance,” it said in the release.
On greenhouse emissions, the ministry says no indicator in the report talks about renewable energy, energy efficiency and process optimization. The selection of indicators is biased and incomplete, it said.
On environmental health indicators, the government said the index fails to have an indicator that can measure actual water quality based on criteria for healthy water.
“India being an agrarian country has taken major steps towards the improvement of its agriculture sector and its practices such as Agro biodiversity, water use efficiency and soil health. With only two indicators under the Agriculture category the efforts of India towards the improvement of its agriculture sector and its practices are not reflected,” it said.
EPI projections indicate that just four countries — China, India, the US and Russia — will account for over 50% of residual global greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 if current trends hold.