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NYT: US Worst In G8 On Environment

From the New York Times:


U.S. Given Poor Marks on the Environment

By FELICITY BARRINGER

Published: January 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list.

European nations dominate the top places in the ranking, which evaluates sanitation, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural policies, air pollution and 20 other measures to formulate an overall score, with 100 the best possible.

The top 10 countries, with scores of 87 or better, were led by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The others at the top were Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand, the leader in the 2006 version of the analysis, which is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities…

The United States, with a score of 81.0, he noted, “is slipping down,” both because of low scores on three different analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and a pervasive problem with smog. The country’s performance on a new indicator that measures regional smog, he said, “is at the bottom of the world right now.”

He added, “The U.S. continues to have a bottom-tier performance in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The list, which is to be released Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is the fourth, and most refined, of a series of rankings first issued in 2002. Because of methodological changes, the list this year is not directly comparable to the last one, issued in 2006, in which the United States was ranked 28th

The United States’ low ranking in measures like the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per capita or per unit of electricity — in the bottom 20 percent — is not surprising, Mr. Connaughton said, because the United States contributes a quarter of the new releases of greenhouse gas emissions

India, China and Australia ranked among the bottom 25 nations in the indicator that combined all the climate change scores; China and Australia ranked below the United States. As with earlier versions of the index, the authors created separate lists of countries that are considered peers, either economically or geographically, and scored the performance of nations in those subgroups…

Costa Rica (90.5), Colombia (88.3) and Canada (86.6) led the 26 countries of the Americas; Haiti (60.7) was last in this group…

Christine Kim, a research associate of Professor Esty’s, calculated that a country’s wealth, measured as gross domestic product per capita, tended to correlate with a strong performance on such indicators as sanitation, indoor air quality and success in combating diseases — but also with a poor performance on greenhouse gas emissions and agricultural policies.

Sure, Colombia is much more environmentally pure than the United States. We believe that.

And we are supposed to believe that India ranks above the US? India? Also note the conspicuous absence of any mention of the Soviet Union Russia.

[A] country’s wealth, measured as gross domestic product per capita, tended to correlate with a strong performance on such indicators as sanitation, indoor air quality and success in combating diseases — but also with a poor performance on greenhouse gas emissions and agricultural policies

Well, after all, what is more important? Combating disease or ending greenhouse emissions — which may or may not increase the average temperature by 1 degree in a hundred years or so?

Still, it will be amusing to see the media try to convince us simultaneously that 1) we are in a recession and 2) that we need to curtail our economic growth because of our carbon output.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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