The UAE has climbed 35 places in the biannual Environmental Performance Index (EPI), a sustainability report that evaluates the environmental performance of 180 countries.
A joint initiative between the US-based Yale and Columbia universities, the 2020 Environmental Performance Index ranked the UAE at number 42, up from 77 in 2018 and 92 in 2016.
European nations dominated the top 10, with Denmark coming in at number one, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany.
At number 42, the UAE is the highest-ranked Arab country.
“Our analysis suggests that countries with broad-based sustainability efforts and particular emphasis on decarbonizing their economies come out at the top of the pack,” said Yale professor Dan Esty, who directs the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, which co-produces the EPI.
First launched in 2006, the EPI ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. According to report’s authors, this year’s report features new metrics that cover waste management, carbon dioxide emissions from land cover change and emissions of fluorinated gases, all of which contribute to climate change.
“Good governance more than any other factor separates the nations that are moving toward a sustainable future from those which are not,” said Alex de Sherbinin of Columbia’s Earth Institute, one of the lead authors of the EPI report.
The 2020 EPI also found that global progress on climate change had been halting.
“Metrics on CO₂ emissions from land cover change and black carbon emission growth rates show that critical aspects of the battle to address climate change are trending in the wrong direction over the past decade,” the authors said.
“Meeting the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement requires sustained cuts in emissions of all greenhouse gases, and the 2020 EPI finds that no country is decarbonizing quickly enough,” they added.