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China, India among worst environmental performers: study

by Staff Writers
Davos, Switzerland (AFP) Jan 23, 2008
European countries and some Latin American nations topped an environmental scorecard released Wednesday in Davos, way ahead of the United States and emerging economies like China and India.

Switzerland, host of the annual World Economic Forum gathering, led the list of top environmental performers compiled by experts at Yale and Columbia universities in the United States.

Three northern European countries -- Sweden, Norway and Finland -- came next, followed by Costa Rica. Another Latin American state, Colombia, was ranked ninth -- just ahead of France.

The scorecard ranked 149 countries according to their success in meeting broadly-accepted targets in such policy categories as environmental health, air pollution and water resources.

While acknowledging that wealth was a major determinant, the study highlighted the disparity in ranking between Costa Rica (5th) and neighbouring Nicaragua (77th) as a demonstration that "policy choices also affect performance."

It also stressed the lowly ranking of the United States, which wound up in 39th place, significantly behind other industrialised countries like Britain (14th) and Japan (21st).

"Poor scores on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions dragged down the overall US rank," it said.

The environmental cost of soaring economic growth in Asian giants China and India were reflected in their lowly rankings. China placed 105th with Indian even further back in 120th position.

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EU sets national renewable energy targets for 2020
Brussels (AFP) Jan 23, 2008
The European Commission set targets Wednesday for each of the 27 EU member states, obliging them to raise to a set percentage the use of renewable energies in their overall energy mix by 2020.

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