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Ten countries have performed high standards of environmental actions. This is due to a series of factors analyzed by the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The study reveals how crucial are governmental policies regarding climate change and carbon emissions.

Words By Mayra Quispe Trejo


The world’s concern for protecting the environment has raised awareness, and important actions have been executed by governments. These decisions have caused significant changes; making countries reach high levels of clean air, green spaces and environmental consciousness.

According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), in 2020, the top ten countries to have the best environmental actions are Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany. 

The 2020 EPI provides a quantitative basis for comparing, analyzing, and understanding environmental performance for 180 countries. This report scores from 1 to 100 points, ranks countries based on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available and calculates how these scores have changed over the previous decade.

The Climate Change issue category measures progress to combat global climate change, which exacerbates all other environmental threats and imperils human health and safety. The Waste Management issue category recognizes the threats of solid waste to human health. It is based on one indicator, controlled solid waste. The Environmental Health policy objective measures how well countries are protecting their populations from environmental health risks. It comprises 40% of the total EPI score and is made up of four issue categories: Air Quality, Sanitation & Drinking Water, Heavy Metals, and Waste Management. The carbon emissions section calculates the CO2 growth rate indicator, which makes up 55% of the Climate Change issue category. 

The report displays the efforts of these ten countries to take action in order to have a better place for their inhabitants to live. It is a matter of taking care of the environment and also taking care of people’s health. Additionally, an evident necessity of reducing carbon emission is a common denominator in the analysis.

Some of the most important environmental protection measures taken are those implemented by Denmark. Shifting to renewable energy, 23% of energy consumption in this country is renewable. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest study shows that Denmark remains a global leader in decarbonizing its economy. By 2050, Denmark aims to be a low-carbon society independent of fossil fuels. Moreover, in Copenhagen, 100 large wind turbines have been installed, aiming to make the capital the first carbon-neutral city.

Furthermore, France has made a significant step by passing the Anti-waste Act for a Circular Economy 2020. This text contains restrictions to plastic use, as well as an obligation of transparency on the health and environmental impacts of products. It reassures the assistance to municipalities by strengthening the power of mayors in sanctioning legal dumping. Moreover, it promotes companies’ initiatives by giving them the bonus-malus, which means that if a company complies with the rules, it could receive a bonus or an advantage. France assures the commitment to informing customers about the recycling system, how to do it at home, and the consequences of not following environmentally responsible practices. In addition, France has adjusted its target of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by 40% by 2030. The hexagon has affirmed that its goal is to turn away from fossil fuels and commit to a carbon-neutral approach.

One objective that seems common through all the initiatives taken to protect the environment is reducing carbon emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources. When fossil fuels are burned, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. Greenhouse gases trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Moreover, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that emissions from fossil fuels are the dominant cause of global warming. In 2018, 89% of global CO2 emissions came from fossil fuels and industry.

Countries around the world are aware of the causes and consequences of climate change. Currently, extreme changes in temperature, floods, wildfires, and extinction of species are clear evidence of the lack of sustainable actions. For that, it is necessary to continue gathering efforts from the government, the industry, and the citizens. Aiming to reduce carbon emissions, use renewable energy, and better management of recycling and waste will certainly get us closer to a more sustainable place.

This planet is our home and for the generations to come. The world we are handing over to them is our responsibility. Maybe next time, this top ten list will be extended by tight scores from different countries.

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