Environmental Sustainability Statistics by Country

Color Coding Key
GREEN Ranked 1st for statistic
RED Ranked last for statistic

Norway and Sweden prevail as the most committed and the United States ranks near last in all 3 indices among the countries studied.

    Environmental Performance Index   Biodiversity
  Expenditure on Environment Protection 2014 score 2012 rank Ecological footprint Steel trap banned Biodiversity score Fisheries score Forestry score
Australia 82.4 3 6.88 No 85.4 36.7 27.2
Canada .55 73.14 24 6.43 No 53.6 18.4 80.5
Denmark .47 76.92 13 8.25 Yes 61.3 8.5 87.0
France 1.03 71.05 27 4.91 Yes 80.8 32.2 85.4
Germany .67 80.47 6 4.57 Yes 100.0 9.3 55.6
Italy .85 74.36 22 4.52 Yes 94.8 31.2 76.5
Japan 1.19 72.35 26 4.17 No 67.1 20.8 93.2
Netherlands 1.77 77.75 11 6.34 Yes 84.7 13.3 95.3
Norway .70 78.04 10   Yes 63.7 13.7 96.1
Sweden .34 78.09 9 5.71 Yes 52.1 23.2 82.3
United Kingdom 1.03 77.35 12 4.71 Yes 100.0 15.1 86.1
United States 67.52 33 7.19 No 71.8 17.2 79.0

Sources:

View OECD expenditure statisticsView Graphical Data

As a percent (or fraction of a percent) of GDP, for most recent year (2006-10). Values for Australia and United States are not available for any year.

View EPI statistics

Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Yale University and Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center SEDAC. For 2014

2014 score View Graphical Data

2014 rank View Graphical Data

View Living Planet IndexView Graphical Data

Measures human consumption against the earth's biocapacity. The 2012 report from The Living Planet Index includes a focus on the preservation of biodiversity.

Steel jaw leg-hold trap: The Cull of the Wild from Born Free USA

88 Countries have banned the steel jaw leg-hold trap. Four of the advanced democracies here have not.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity score View Graphical Data

Biodiversity and habitat: critical habitat protection, biome protection, marine protected areas

Fisheries score View Graphical Data

Coastal shelf fishing pressure, fish stocks over-exploited

Forestries score View Graphical Data

Forest growing stock, change in forest cover, forest loss

Notes

"Americans Are Outliers in Views on Climate Change," Megan Thee-Brenan

May 16, 2014. In a Pew survey only 40% of Americans believe global climate change is a threat, compared to 54% in Europe and Canada.

"The Global Toll of Fine Particulate Matter," Earth Observatory

September 19, 2013, NASA. Jason West qualitates how dangerous pollution and fine particulate matter is for our health.

"Old Europe's New Ideas," Samuel Loewenberg

Sierra Club, Jan/Feb 2004.

-U.S. abandoned the Kyoto Protocol; EU tries to implement

-Bush administration opposes restrictions on GM crops; the EU supports restrictions.

-EU established labeling and tracing for GM crops in 2003

-Europe not as tolerant of advertisements for tobacco and pharmaceuticals

-EU made automakers responsible for recovering and recycling the vehicles they manufacture as of mid-2002

-EU required electronics companies to collect and recycle their products as of August 2004.

-EU prohibited use of many toxic substances in electronics (lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, flame-retardants PBDE and PBB) by July 2006

-EU requires (REACH program) rigorous tests on 10,000 common chemicals and finding alternatives as of late 2005.

-EU proposed legislation to mandate pro-environment design guidelines for energy, recycling, toxics, and GHGs.

-U.S. ranks 28th in meeting environmental goals by 85 percent, ranks behind most of western Europe.

"U.S. Given Poor Marks on the Environment," Felicity Barringer

January 23, 2008, New York Times. After the EPI 2008, Barringer noted that the reports from Yale and Columbia Universities, the Environmentally Sustainability Index (2005) and the Environmental Perfomance Index (2008, 2010) were reports that were similar in purpose, but different in methodology, thus the name change. Barringer also noted that the U.S.'s poor position in many categories isn't surprising given that the U.S. is responsible for 25% of new releases of greenhouse gases. These grim statistics remain despite improvements in other categories such as carbon intensity.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment," review by Andrew C. Revkin

And review by Andrew C. Revkin, "Report tallies hidden costs of Human Assault on Nature" (April 5, 2005). Delivers harsh truths as human activity, growth, and consumption, according to the report, has began to inhibit the ecosystem's ability to maintain integral balances upon which human life depends.

Cuba

"Urban Agriculture provides Cubans with Food, Jobs"

World Watch, March/April 2007. National Urban Agriculture Program has seen their initiatives provide jobs, make great use of urban space in order to more affordably provide for communities, and reduced fossil fuels by cutting out transportation.

Biodiversity

"Life's diversity 'being depleted,' " Tim Hirsch

March 20, 2006. Rate of extinction is at its quickest decline. Article reports that Global Biodiversity Organization, which calls for a stabilization and not full reversal, says that unprecedented legislation will be necessary in order to reach more steady levels.

Forestry

"Incentives Offered to Destroy Forests," Julio Godoy

September 20, 2007. Kyoto Protocol has given no incentives for developing countries and has left them little choice but to clear their forests in order to grow more tradable goods like coffee there.

"Race to Raze," Paul Rauber

November/December, 2010, Sierra Magazine. This article on deforestation reveals that the United States has had the highest rate of deforestation at 6% during the period from 2000 to 2005. Brazil and Canada, overall, have experienced the most deforestation, losing 63,320 and 61,776 square miles, respectively. The article is based on a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Global Forest Cover Loss

  Brazil Canada China DR Congo Indonesia Russia United States
Square miles of forest lost 63,320 61,776 10,810 3,861 13,513 55,600 46,332
Percent of forest lost 3.6 5.2 2.3 0.6 3.3 2.8 6.0

Environment and Economy

"U.S. Far Behind in Green Tech Revolution, Senators Told," Zachary Coile

January 8, 2009. With references to John Doerr and Tom Friedman, Coile asserts that the opportunity for the United States to take advantage of profiting from green industries and the $6 trillion energy industry has largely diminished. Comparisons are made to how the U.S. was able to invest in and benefit from the technology revolution.

"Europe's Way of Encouraging Solar Power Arrives in the U.S," Kate Galbrath

March 13, 2009. Europe's model, with specific references to Germany, for how the United States should aspire in order to compete in the green industry.

Hazardous Chemicals

"EU's New Rules Forcing Changes by US Firms," Lyndsay Layton

June 12, 2008. As the European Union continues to aggressively progress concerning chemical policies while instituting the precautionary principle (that chemicals are to be assumed harmful until proven otherwise) while the United States' Environmental Protection Agency has banned a mere 5 chemicals since its founding in 1976.

"Why Poisonous, Unregulated Chemicals End Up in Our Blood" by Mark Shapiro

Harper's Magazine, October 1, 2007. In 1976 Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act TSCA, the first oversight in this area, ahead of Europe. Reagan stopped progress. TSCA was weak, exempting all chemicals in use before 1979, and 95 percent, about 62,000 chemicals, have still not been tested. In 2006 the EU proposed REACH, requiring much stricter regulation than TSCA and moved ahead of the US.

-EU has outlawed asbestos and many toxins, but the EPA has not.

-Since 1996, U.S. chemical companies have contributed $47 million to federal election campaigns and pay $30 million a year to lobbyists.

-EU's REACH places burden of proof on manufacturer that the chemicals are safe, while US puts burden to prove they are unsafe, which is much more difficult.

-85 percent of EPA exposure and toxicity data notifications contain no health data.

-In June 2008 the REACH regulations came into effect.

Needed:

Mode split: Drive alone as a percent of vehicle miles traveled and of trips.