Denmark and the United Kingdom are among “a handful of countries” on track to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, while South Asian and Southeast Asian countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, and India lag, according to the Environmental Performance Index.
Th index, published biennially by Yale and Columbia universities over the past two decades, ranks 180 nations based on their efforts in environmental health, ecosystem vitality, and climate change.
The rating is determined by 40 performance indicators spread across 11 categories, including biodiversity, water resources, and climate change mitigation. This year, the index incorporates a new metric to forecast how near countries are to achieving net-zero emissions.
The top spots were taken by wealthy European countries. Denmark and the UK came in first and second place with scores of 77.9 and 77.7, respectively, followed by Finland, Malta, and Sweden.
Denmark has been a pioneer in wind power and keeps working on boosting renewable energy. The government also proposed an extra carbon tax for high-emitting companies in April.
Martin Wolf, principal investigator for the project, said that the authors of the EPI “feel very confident” that Denmark is doing everything properly to achieve net-zero emissions before 2050 — and perhaps sooner in 2045.
According to the analysis, China, Russia, India, and the United States would continue to be the largest emitters in the second half of the 21st century. India scores bottom in overall environmental performance for the first time since the index’s launch. The evaluation comes as India recently announced plans to reactivate ancient coal mines and expand output to address power shortages, which is in the opposite direction to cut emissions.
According to the EPI, China will account for around 29% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2050, followed by India (11%), the United States (8%), and Russia (5%).