India rejects eco index that ranked it lowest

Govt says indicators based on surmises, unscientific methods

India rejects eco index that ranked it lowest

The Commission for Air Quality Management working on phasing out heavily polluting fossil fuels. Tribune file

New Delhi, June 8

The Union Environment Ministry on Wednesday rebutted the Environmental Performance Index 2022, which ranked India at the bottom of a list of 180 countries, saying some of the indicators it used "are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods".

The index published recently by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy and the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, used 40 performance indicators across 11 categories to judge countries on climate change performance, environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 released recently has many indicators based on "unfounded" assumptions. Some of these indicators used for assessing performance are "extrapolated" and based on "surmises and unscientific" methods, the ministry said in a statement.

A new indicator in the climate policy objective is "projected GHG emissions levels in 2050". This is computed based on the 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, the ministry said.

Forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks, but have not been factored in while computing the projected GHG emissions trajectory up to 2050 given by EPI 2022. Historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the computation, it said while rejecting the analysis.

The ministry said the weight of the indicators in which India performed well had been reduced and the reasons for such change had not been explained in the report. For example, for black carbon growth rate indicator, India's score has improved to 100 in 2022 from 32 in 2020, whereas the overall weight of the indicator is reduced to 0.0038 in 2022 from 0.018 in 2020, it said.

"No indicator talks about renewable energy, energy efficiency and process optimisation. The selection of indicators is biased and incomplete...Per capita GHG emissions contribute only a miniscule 2.6 per cent weight overall in the index," it said.

The principle of equity is given very low weightage in the form of indicators like GHG emission per capita and GHG Emission intensity trend. The CBDR-RC principle is also barely reflected in the composition of the index, the ministry said.

Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR RC) acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.

The indicators on water quality, water use efficiency, waste generation per capita which are closely linked to sustainable consumption and production are not included in the Index, the ministry said.

The index emphasises on the extent of protected areas rather than the quality of protection that they afford. Management, effectiveness and evaluation of protected areas and eco-sensitive regions is not factored into the computation of biodiversity indices. It computes the extent of ecosystems but not their condition or productivity. It did not include indicators like agro biodiversity, soil health etc. — PTI 

Union Environment Ministry claims

  • Index published by US centres uses 40 performance indicators to judge countries on climate change performance
  • Computed on average rate of change in emission of last 10 years instead of longer time period
  • Forests and wetlands not factored in while computing projected GHG emissions
  • Historical data on the lowest emission trajectory ignored; Weight of indicators in which India performed well reduced
  • Indicators on water quality, water use efficiency and waste generation per capita not included in the index

#Environment #Pollution

Tribune Shorts


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