Report: Norway Leads, U.S. Takes Last Place on Environmental Policy

Norway takes first place and the United States ranks on the bottom of a list of 21 wealthy nations when it comes to environmental policy, according to an annual index released on Oct. 10 by the Center for Global Development.

The Commitment to Development Index (CDI), produced annually by the center, an independent Washington research and policy organization, ranks 21 high-income industrialized countries on how well their policies and actions support poor countries' efforts to build prosperity, good government, and security. The scoring adjusts for size, leveling the playing field for large and small nations. The environment component is one of seven policy areas that comprise the CDI. The other Index components are aid, trade, investment, migration, security, and technology.

The report lauded Norway for its decline in net greenhouse gas emissions during 1995 to 2005, the last 10 years for which data are available. The decline is due to to steady forest expansion, which absorbs carbon dioxide. Second place Ireland scores high in part because its economy has grown 6.6 percent per year faster than its greenhouse gas emissions. The United Kingdon, which has steadily increased gasoline taxes and supported wind and other renewable energy sources, continues to perform well, coming fourth this year, the best showing of any major economy.

The United States comes in last due partly to its extremely high greenhouse gas emissions per capita (21.7 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per person, the third worst after Canada and Australia) and the lowest gasoline taxes of all 21 countries in the index. The United States also loses points in the index for its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the most serious international effort to deal with climate change.

For more information, contact the Center for Global Development at http://www.cgdev.org.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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