Wednesday, January 23, 2008

U.S. Given Poor Marks on the Environment

The New York Times,January 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list.

European nations dominate the top places in the ranking, which evaluates sanitation, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural policies, air pollution and 20 other measures to formulate an overall score, with 100 the best possible.

The top 10 countries, with scores of 87 or better, were led by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The others at the top were Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand, the leader in the 2006 version of the analysis, which is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities.

“We are putting more weight on climate change,” said Daniel Esty, the report’s lead author, who is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. “Switzerland is the most greenhouse gas efficient economy in the developed world,” he said, in part because of its use of hydroelectric power and its transportation system, which relies more on trains than individual cars or trucks.

The United States, with a score of 81.0, he noted, “is slipping down,” both because of low scores on three different analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and a pervasive problem with smog. The country’s performance on a new indicator that measures regional smog, he said, “is at the bottom of the world right now.”

Comment: This is embarrassing and appalling. The US has long been the leader of the Free World. This is the nation that liberating Europe from Hitler and defeated Japan. We defeating the Soviet Union and liberating half the world from Communist oppression. We have been the leader in providing aid to undeveloped countries, in conquering disease, in promoting democracy and stability in the world, and in promoting trade and economic growth and integration. We are the most powerful and influential country on the planet. Global warming may be the biggest challenge facing the planet and yet the US is absent in seeking a solution and is in fact one of the worse offenders among industrialized nations. The US should be a leader in solving this problem, not ranking behind Albania.

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