The Union Ministry of Environment on Wednesday, 8 June, rebutted the Environmental Performance Index 2022 which had ranked India at the bottom of a list of 180 countries, and said that it "does not accept its analysis and conclusions."
The government said that many indicators of the index were based on unfounded assumptions. "Some of these indicators used for assessing performance are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods," an official statement issued by the ministry asserted.
The EPI has been devised by researchers at the Earth Institute of Yale and Columbia University. The report has said that India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Pakistan's low scores can be attributed to their prioritisation of economic growth over environmental sustainability.
Forests, Wetlands Not Factored In, Some Other Indicators Ignored by EPI: Govt
The Centre has enumerated reasons behind its disapproval of the ranking.
It said that the forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks, which have not been factored in while computing the projected greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trajectory up to 2050 given by EPI 2022.
"A new indicator in the Climate Policy objective is Projected GHG Emissions levels in 2050. This is computed based on average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modelling that takes into account a longer time period, extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency etc. of respective countries."Ministry of Environment
Historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the above computation, the government further said in the press release.
The statement noted that indicators like agro-biodiversity, soil health, food loss, and waste are not included even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations.
India's Score on EPI
India has been given an EPI score of 18.9.
The three primary categories under which scores have been given are ecosystem vitality, environmental health, and climate change performance.
India has scored 19.3 on ecosystem vitality and the change in this area in the last decade is -2, as it has seen loss in biodiversity and biodiverse habitats.
The country has scored 12.5 on health; this means poor air quality, sanitation, and drinking water. The waste management in terms of solid wastes, ocean plastics, and recycling is also poor.
Under climate policy, India has scored 21.7 and is ranked at 165.
"The researchers found strong correlations between EPI scores and government effectiveness, rule of law, regulatory quality, happiness, and gross domestic producer (GDP) per capita," the EPI report said.