Nav: Home

New study ranks countries on environment impact

May 04, 2010

A new study led by the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute in Australia has ranked most of the world's countries for their environmental impact.

The research uses seven indicators of environmental degradation to form two rankings - a proportional environmental impact index, where impact is measured against total resource availability, and an absolute environmental impact index measuring total environmental degradation at a global scale.

Led by the Environment Institute's Director of Ecological Modelling Professor Corey Bradshaw, the study has been published in the on-line, peer-reviewed science journal PLoS ONE (found at www.plosone.org).

The world's 10 worst environmental performers according to the proportional environmental impact index (relative to resource availability) are: Singapore, Korea, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, Thailand, Bahrain, Malaysia, Philippines and Netherlands.

In absolute global terms, the 10 countries with the worst environmental impact are (in order, worst first): Brazil, USA, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, India, Russia, Australia and Peru.

The indicators used were natural forest loss, habitat conversion, fisheries and other marine captures, fertiliser use, water pollution, carbon emissions from land use and species threat.

"The environmental crises currently gripping the planet are the corollary of excessive human consumption of natural resources," said Professor Bradshaw. "There is considerable and mounting evidence that elevated degradation and loss of habitats and species are compromising ecosystems that sustain the quality of life for billions of people worldwide."

Professor Bradshaw said these indices were robust and comprehensive and, unlike existing rankings, deliberately avoided including human health and economic data - measuring environmental impact only.

The study, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and Princeton University, found that the total wealth of a country (measured by gross national income) was the most important driver of environmental impact.

"We correlated rankings against three socio-economic variables (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and found that total wealth was the most important explanatory variable - the richer a country, the greater its average environmental impact," Professor Bradshaw said.

There was no evidence to support the popular idea that environmental degradation plateaus or declines past a certain threshold of per capital wealth (known as the Kuznets curve hypothesis).

"There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn't supported," he said.
-end-
Professor Bradshaw also holds a joint position with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

University of Adelaide

Related Environmental Impact Articles:

If you're poor, poverty is an environmental issue
A survey from Cornell researchers -- conducted among more than 1,100 US residents -- found that there were, in fact, demographic differences in how people viewed environmental issues, with racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income people more likely to consider human factors such as racism and poverty as environmental, in addition to more ecological issues like toxic fumes from factories or car exhaust.
Environmental solutions to go global
New Australian technology that could fix some of the world's biggest environmental pollution problems -- oil spills, mercury pollution and fertiliser runoff -- will soon be available to global markets following the signing of a landmark partnership with Flinders University.
70% of Americans rarely discuss the environmental impact of their food
American consumers are hungry for more climate-friendly plant-based diets, but they need more information, according to a new survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the Earth Day Network.
Estimating the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining
As an alternative to government-issued money, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin offers relative anonymity, no sales tax and freedom from bank and government interference.
Atmospheric and environmental changes impact organ-specific lupus flares
New research findings presented at the 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting found a strong association between changes in atmospheric and environmental variables 10 days before a clinic visit and organ-specific lupus flares in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Research brief: Nutritious foods have lower environmental impact than unhealthy foods
Widespread adaptation of healthier diets would markedly reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and food production.
Placenta transit of an environmental estrogen
The human foetus is considered to be particularly sensitive to environmental contaminants.
Diets of Latinos and blacks have greatest environmental impact per dollar spent on food
Despite spending less than white households on food overall, black and Latino households have more impact on the environment per dollar spent on food than white households, according to a new study published in Environmental Engineering Science.
New data platform illuminates history of humans' environmental impact
Animal remains found at archaeological sites tell the millennia-long story of how humans have hunted, domesticated and transported wildlife, altered landscapes and responded to environmental changes such as shifting temperatures and sea levels.
Environmental pollutants could impact cellular signs of aging
Researchers have linked some environmental pollutants with diseases, a decreased life span and signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles and age spots.
More Environmental Impact News and Environmental Impact Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.