Well if I was asked to name the top 10 nations ruining the world, my list would be wrong. I was reading about a study done by University of Adelaide’s Environmental Institute in Australia in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and the Princeton University. It listed the top 10 countries who were crating the most environmental impact. The study found that the total wealth of a country was the most important driver of environmental impact. There is a general theory that when nations get richer the use of better technology reduces impact on environment, which is refuted here. The study evaluates the relative environmental Impact of countries using 7 indicators of environmental degradation:
- Natural Forest Loss
- Habitat Conversion
- Marine Captures
- Fertilizer use
- Water Pollution
- Carbon Emissions
- Species Threat
Existing rankings also took into account human health and economic data, where as this study focuses solely on Environmental impact. Other country specific variables were also excluded e.g. Illegal fishing, some patterns of Greenhouse gas emission, sea grass loss, coral habitat loss, bush meat harvest etc… The study has listed 2 rankings a “proportional” environmental impact ranking – environmental impact measured against total resource availability (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and an “absolute” environmental impact ranking measuring total environmental degradation at a global scale. These are the top ten worst offending countries for absolute environmental impact, those that are just doing the most damage, regardless of per capita calculations.
- Brazil – In the 7 categories Brazil ranked in the top 10 of all but Marine Capture. 1st place for natural forest loss, 3rd place for natural habitat conversion, 3rd place for fertilizer use, 4th place for threatened species, 4th place for CO2 emissions, and 8th place for water pollution.
- USA – One would think with the resources and smarts the country has it would be ranked better than a number 2, but no. Except for natural Habitat Conversion where it ranked a very respectable 211, the rest of the list reads like this – Ringing in at 1st place for fertilizer use, The USA also ranks in 1st place for CO2 emissions, 2nd place for water pollution, 3rd place for marine captures, and 9th place for threatened species.
- China – It has the 1st place in water pollution (20 million people without access to clean water), 1st place for marine capture. Add to that 2nd place for CO2 emissions and 6th place for threatened species, and we can see how China takes the bronze for most environmental impact.
- Indonesia – Indonesia ranks 2nd in natural forest loss, which probably has some to so with their taking 3rd place for threatened species. Indonesia is ranked 3rd for CO2 emissions, 6th for marine capture, 6th for fertilizer use, and 7th for water pollution.
- Japan – Japan ranks 4th for marine capture, 5th for both natural habitat conversion and water pollution, and 6th for CO2 emissions.
- Mexico – 5th for both natural habitat conversion and water pollution, and 6th for CO2 emissions.
- India – India is 2nd place for environmental impact due to fertilizer use. India comes in 8th for another three areas: threatened species, marine capture and CO2 emissions.
- Russia – Russia in 4th place for worst water pollution. Russia ranks 5th in worst CO2 emissions–air quality is almost as poor as water quality, with over 200 cities often exceeding Russian pollution limits. The country ranks 7th for marine capture.
- Australia – About 11.5 percent of the total land area of Australia is protected, which leaves a lot left over for unbridled usage, which is how the country ranks 7th worst in habitat conversion. It also ranks 9th for fertilizer use, and 10th for natural forest loss.
- Peru – Peru ranks 2nd for marine capture and 7th for threatened species.
If you live in any of these nations Wake up think about how you can make a change today.