Environmental Performance Index

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Context: The 12th edition of the biennial Environment Performance Index (EPI Index 2020) has been released. India secured 168th rank in the 12th edition of the Environment Performance Index (EPI) 2020.

Relevance:
Prelims: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change.
Mains: GS III-

  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Environmental Performance Index
  • EPI is a biennial index prepared by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
  • It offers a scorecard that highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance and provides practical guidance for countries that aspire to move toward a sustainable future.
  • This index was first published in 2002 designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
About the index
  • The index ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
  • The index is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state’s policies.
  • This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
  • The EPI was preceded by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), published between 1999 and 2005. Both indices were developed by Yale University (Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy) and Columbia University (Center for International Earth Science Information Network) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
THE PERFORMANCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE WAS ASSESSED BASED ON
  • Adjusted emission growth rates;
  • Composed of growth rates of four greenhouse gases and one pollutant;
  • The growth rate in carbon dioxide emissions from land cover;
  • Greenhouse gas intensity growth rate;
  • Greenhouse gas emissions per capita.

Key Findings
  • Global Findings
    • EPI Index of 2020 measured the environmental performance of 180 countries.
    • The index considered 32 indicators of environmental performance and included 10-year trends in environmental performance at the national and global levels.
    • Denmark topped the index with a score of 82.5.
  • India’ Performance
    • India scored 27.6 out of 100 in the 2020 EPI index and its performance was worse than all South Asian countries, except Afghanistan.
    • India scored below the regional (South-Asia) average score on all five key parameters on environmental health, including air quality, sanitation, and drinking water, heavy metals, and waste management.
    • These findings resonated with the concerns raised by the ‘State of India’s Environment 2020 in Figures’, published by the Centre for Science and Environment.
    • It has also scored below the regional average on parameters related to biodiversity and ecosystem services too.
    • India was in the second position after Pakistan on ‘climate change’ among the South-Asia countries.
    • Pakistan’s score (50.6) was the highest under the climate change category.
    • A ten-year comparison progress report in the index showed that India slipped on climate-related parameters.
    • The report indicated that black carbon, carbon dioxide emissions, and greenhouse emissions per capita increased in ten years.

Suggestions for India
  • India needs to re-double national sustainability efforts on all fronts.
  • The country needs to focus on a wide spectrum of sustainability issues, with a high-priority to critical issues such as air and water quality, biodiversity, and climate change.
Environmental Conservation Programmes in India
  • Climate Change:
    • National Action Plan on Climate Change
  • Desertification:
    • National Action Programme to Combat Desertification
  • Pollution Control:
    • National Clean Air Program
  • Environmental Impact Assessment:
    • Environment Management Plan
  • Forest Protection:
    • National Afforestation Programme
  • Animal Conservation:
    • Project Elephant, Project Tiger

 

Way Forward
  • India needs to re-double national sustainability efforts on all fronts.
  • It needs to focus on a wide spectrum of sustainability issues, with a high-priority to critical issues such as air and water quality, biodiversity, and climate change.



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