A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Australia & the environmental performance index

From Nicholas Gruen at Troppo I became aware of the Yale Environmental Performance Index. The 2010 EPI ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across 10 policy categories covering both environmental public health (50%) and ecosystem vitality (50%). These indicators provide a gauge at a national level of how close countries are to “established environmental policy goals”. The weights comprising the index are split among environmental public health (environmental burden of disease 25%, air and water pollution each 12.5%) and for ecosystem vitality (agriculture, fisheries, forestry, biodiversity and habitat, water pollution, air pollution – each 4.176%). There is specific documentation on how these various sub-categories are assessed.

The overall rankings put Scandinavian countries and Costa Rica, Switzerland at the top (with scores 85+).  Japan is 21 (score 93.5), Singapore 28 (69.6) and then come a whole batch of developed or middle income countries – Canada 46 (66.4), Philippines 50 (65.7), Australia 51 (65.7), Malaysia 54 (65), the USA 61 (63.5), Thailand 67 (62.5) and South Korea at 94 (57).  Then come a batch of poorer developing countries with China on 121 (44), India 123 (48.3), Indonesia 134 (44.6) and North Korea on 147 (41.8).  A group of poor African countries come at the tail – Sierra Leone is last on 163 (32.1).

I was surprised to see Australia so far down the list.  Environmental health scores are very good in Australia – it is the ecosystem vitality scores that are low. Australia scores very poorly on climate change, quite poorly on air pollution, quite poorly in terms of water system effects on ecosystems and while biodiversity protection is good it is not really good – only 69% of critical habitats are protected.

The comments on climate and our water supply concerns are expected.  I was surprised to see however the poor scores on air pollution due to nitrous oxides, ozone and sulfur dioxide and the poor scores given to protection of critical habitats.  These are issues worth looking at.  My understanding was that air pollution levels in Australia were relatively good at least in urban areas. Australia does emit a lot of SO2 and nitrous oxides however and these emissions are not concentrated in urban areas.  Dealing satisfactorily with coal-fired electrical power in Australia to reduce carbon emissions would provide side-benefits in terms of reducing other pollutants as well.


2 comments to Australia & the environmental performance index

Leave a Reply