A global metrics environment index places Cyprus 24 out of 180 countries for its priority on tackling issues like climate change and air pollution.
It is a marked improvement on two years ago when the 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranked Cyprus at 40. The 2018 EPI ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality, the Financial Mirror reports.
Switzerland, France and Denmark are the top three in the index while Burundi is bottom with Bangladesh not far behind. Cyprus scored 72.60 points on the index, above USA, but lower than Greece’s 73.60 in 22nd spot and a long way behind Switzerland’s top score of 87.42.
These metrics provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals. The EPI scorecard highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance, gives insight on best practices, and provides guidance for countries that aspire to be leaders in sustainability. Switzerland leads the world based on strong performance across most issues, especially air quality and climate protection.
In general, high scorers exhibit long-standing commitments to protecting public health, preserving natural resources, and decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic activity. Low scores on the EPI are indicative of the need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, especially cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity, and reducing GHG emissions. “Some of the laggards face broader challenges, such as civil unrest, but others seem to be suffering the effects of weak governance,” said the report on the EPI findings. “The EPI draws attention to the issues on which policymakers must take further action,” it added.
As the EPI project has highlighted, better data collection, reporting, and verification across a range of environmental issues are “urgently needed”. “The existing gaps are especially pronounced in the areas of sustainable agriculture, water resources, waste management, and threats to biodiversity.
Supporting stronger global data systems thus emerges as essential to better management of sustainable development challenges.” Air quality remains the leading environmental threat to public health.
In 2016 the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that diseases related to airborne pollutants contributed to two-thirds of all life-years lost to environmentally related deaths and disabilities. “Air pollution issues are especially acute in rapidly urbanizing and industrializing nations such as India and China,” said the report.
Most countries improved GHG emissions intensity over the past ten years.
Three-fifths of countries in the EPI have declining CO2 intensities, while 85–90% of countries have declining intensities for methane, nitrous oxide, and black carbon.
The EPI is developed by Yale and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.