0538 GMT January 26, 2020
With worldwide temperatures projected to rise by between 1.4°C and 5.5°C over the next century, and with catastrophic consequences predicted for any increase greater than 2°C, it’s vital we all play our part in reducing our carbon footprint and limiting global warming as much as we can, envirotech-online.com wrote.
It’s clear, however that some countries are doing more than others in this respect. Using the Environmental Performance Index created by Yale University, 24/7 Wall Street have identified the countries which are doing the most to save the environment. However, it should be remembered that this leader board does not take into account the harmful emissions produced by these countries and that in several cases, those listed are also among the most polluting places on the planet. Here are the top five:
Although Australia was recently criticized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for its over-reliance on the damaging practice of coal combustion, it still ranks highly in several areas. For example, less than a quarter of its population (24.9 percent) are exposed to unsafe air pollution, while 29.7 percent of its land is protected by the government and it has taken important measures such as banning plastic bags, halving food waste and constructing the largest lithium battery in the world.
4. New Zealand
With 0.0 percent of the Kiwi population exposed to poor levels of air quality, this tiny antipodean nation has some of the cleanest skies on the planet. It also enjoys the highest percentage of government-protected land of any country in the top 15 with 30.5 percent of its terrestrial and marine area safeguarded by law and is on track to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets of 2030 and 2050, having already surpassed those set for 2020.
Thanks to its famous fjords, Norway has access to an abundance of hydro energy, meaning that it gains almost 100 percent of its overall power supply from renewable means. A small fraction (two percent) of its populace are exposed to poor air quality, although it does rank the lowest out of the top 15 for land protection, with a mere 5.1 percent of its territory subject to legislation. It also ranks poorly in terms of GHG per capita in comparison to other developed nations.
Another country to enjoy clean air for 100 percent of its population, Finland is leading the way in a number of environmental areas, including increasing the share of renewable energy in its overall consumption profile, pursuing environmentally-friendly forms of road transportation and protecting forested and agricultural parts of the country. At present, just 14.2 percent of its land is protected, highlighting an area where there is plenty of room for improvement.
Its unsurprising that three Nordic countries take the podium positions on this list, although Denmark’s place at the top of the pile might be more shocking. That’s especially true when taking into account the fact that 78.8 percent of the population were exposed to high levels of PM pollution in 2017. However, a series of reforms has brought that percentage down to 56.9 percent in just one year, while it continues to set itself impressive targets in the fields of energy consumption, aiming for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and zero fossil fuels by 2050.