2014 Environmental Performance Index Listicle
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  • 1. The 2014 EPI: A Global Scorecard for the Environment While the world faces enormous environmental challenges, the story is a lot more nuanced than headlines might suggest. The Environmental Performance Index tracks the performance of 178 countries on environmental issues ranging from air and water quality, to fisheries and forests, to human health, to climate change, painting a picture of disappointment side-by-side with hope. http://epi.yale.edu
  • 2. The EPI provides a stocktaking of what is working in international environmental governance and what isn’t. Among the nine categories it measures, about a half show no or negative progress. Environmental issues directly tied to public health, like access to water and sanitation and child mortality, tend to show the most hopeful signs. Credit: João Virissimo / Hemera / Thinkstock
  • 3. The 2014 EPI When it comes to issues most directly tied to ecosystems—like fisheries, forests, and the protection of critical habitat, things do not look too promising. Surprisingly, air quality, a core issue of environmental protection, also lags. Credit: Nik Goossen / iStock / Thinkstock
  • 4. Fisheries all over the world are in trouble, mostly because of poor management. 87% of all fisheries are overexploited or worse. Many will never return. Credit: Rob Bouwman / iStock / Thinkstock
  • 5. Air Pollution China and India often get a lot of attention for their bad air quality, and rightly so. Cities in those countries have levels of harmful particulate matter way beyond healthy levels. Air quality in emerging nations is particularly bad, with industry the main cause. In India alone, premature deaths from outdoor air pollution increased from 100,000 to 600,000 between 2000 and 2010. Credit: durtyburty / iStock /Thinkstock
  • 6. The 2014 EPI In the decade between 2000 and 2010, the world lost more than one million square kilometers of forest cover, an area the size of Colombia. Most of that loss occurred in the tropics. This is the result of poor management and policy, particularly in regard to agriculture, the main driver of deforestation. Credit: Timothy Epp / iStock / Thinkstock
  • 7. Forests Credit: Mika Makelainen / iStock / Thinkstock Brazil is often cited as a main culprit of deforestation in the Amazon. However new satellite data confirms that Brazil actually gained forest cover in the decade from 2000-2010. While experts cast some doubt on this data’s ability to differentiate between old growth forest, sustainable reforestation, and monoculture or plantation forests, this seemed to be a good sign—until Brazilian deforestation rates shot up in 2013 by almost 30%.
  • 8. Critical Habitat Protection Critical Habitat is under threat worldwide. Only 33% of terrestrial ecoregions, 13% of marine ecoregions, and 22% of expertdefined sites reach targets for protection. Of all countries in the 2014 EPI, only Peru demonstrated improvement in protecting its critical habitat. Credit: Imke Stahlmann / Wikicommons
  • 9. Cities Cities offer unique opportunities for sustainable development, something that’s increasingly important now that a majority of the world’s population lives in them. Singapore, a highly dense, urbanized nation, ranks in the top 5 of the 2014 EPI. Its high performance on Wastewater Treatment, Access to Drinking Water, and Sanitation speaks to the potential of urban infrastructure to secure key elements of environmental health. 99.65 out of 100 Singapore’s score on Wastewater Treatment World Average: 24.87 Credit: Antikainen / iStock / Thinkstock
  • 10. Access to Sanitation and Drinking Water In Afghanistan the percentage of households with access to clean drinking water went from 5% in 1991 to 61% in 2011. Since 1990, more than have gained access to improved drinking water and proper sanitation, exceeding Millennium Development Goal targets and improving global well-being. Health-related goals have been realized thanks to clear targets and policies. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
  • 11. Measurement and clear targets matter and are deeply connected. The EPI helps policymakers take stock of the world’s environment. Improvements this year give it the greatest coverage yet: 178 countries, 99% of the world’s population, 98% of its landmass, 97% of its GDP. Credit: João Araujo Pinto / UN Photo
  • 12. The 2014 EPI: A Global Scorecard for the Environment Learn more about the 2014 EPI. Download the complete report, and explore the data at: http://www.epi.yale.edu