Two of America’s most prestigious universities, Yale and Columbia, have been collaborating since 2006 to produce the biannual global Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The EPI looks at “…how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems.” While this is an abbreviated portion of the entire scope of environmental protection, it does give practical information that states can use to improve their impact on the Earth. The 2016 version, released in late January at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, did just this.
Not surprisingly, China’s performance wasn’t so hot. Even more surprisingly, it wasn’t all that bad either.
As readers of John’s Little Green Book will know by now, the image of China as the world’s largest polluter, hell bent on destroying the Earth at all costs, is often far from the truth. The situation on the ground is much more nuanced. The EPI echoes this position. Below are the main findings on China, pulled directly from the report for ease of reference.
The jury’s still out on what this all means for a cleaner, greener China. Results do point to improvements in policy. More importantly, they seem to allude to Central Government policies that are actually being implemented. With it’s recent commitments during COP21, and very public announcements earlier last year, it will be interesting to see if sticking to policy implementation will be enough to move China higher on the coveted EPI list.
In the meantime, China’s chief environment minister has a word or two about his country’s environmental performance of late.
For more information, access the full 2016 report here.