India rejects environment index ranking it at bottom-most rung

India rejects environment index ranking it at bottom-most rung

Some of the indicators used by the index are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods, says Union Environment Ministry

The Union Environment Ministry on Wednesday rebutted the Environmental Performance Index 2022, which ranked India at the bottom of a list of 180 countries, saying some of the indicators it used are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods.

The index, published recently by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, used 40 performance indicators across 11 categories to judge countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

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“The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 released recently has many indicators based on unfounded assumptions. Some of these indicators used for assessing performance are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods,” the ministry said in a statement.

Crucial carbon sinks

“A new indicator in the climate policy objective is projected GHG emissions levels in 2050. This is computed based on the average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modelling that takes into account a longer time period, extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency etc. of respective countries,” the ministry said.

“Forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks but have not been factored in while computing the projected GHG emissions trajectory up to 2050 given by EPI 2022. Historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the computation,” it said while rejecting the analysis.

The ministry said the weight of the indicators in which India performed well has been reduced and the reasons for such change have not been explained in the report. The principle of equity is given very low weightage in the form of indicators like GHG emission per capita and GHG Emission intensity trend. The CBDR-RC principle is also barely reflected in the composition of the index, it said.

Sustainable consumption

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDRRC) acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change. The indicators on water quality, water use efficiency, waste generation per capita which are closely linked to sustainable consumption and production are not included in the Index, the ministry said.

“The index emphasises the extent of protected areas rather than the quality of protection that they afford. Management, effectiveness and evaluation of protected areas and eco-sensitive regions is not factored into the computation of biodiversity indices,” it said. “The index computes the extent of ecosystems but not their condition or productivity. It did not include indicators like agro biodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations.”

With agency inputs

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