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Is Latin America close to building 'green countries'?

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To stop pollution and the depletion of natural resources, it is necessary that countries turn to green initiatives, which are already doing it?

Is Latin America close to building 'green countries'?

Green technologies, green fuels, green laws, in short. Anything that has "green" as a qualifier refers to environmental practices that are favorable or in favor of the environment. Undoubtedly, there is an ecological advance worldwide in relation to the need to take actions that lead to less pollution through more advanced technologies, the most efficient use of natural resources, sanction laws that protect nature, among others.

Leer en español: ¿Está Latinoamérica cerca de construir 'países verdes'?

Probably, this advance that is perceived is the response to the accelerated rate of destruction that humanity has imposed on the planet in the last two centuries. In any case, today ecology is on the agenda of politicians, universities, companies. Although not all countries have the same capacity and/or willingness to create an ecologically friendly environment.

 

Environmental Performance Index

To do this, the Universities of Yale and Columbia, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF), have developed the Environmental Performance Index, which measures how advanced a country is in this matter through the study of 10 indicators grouped into two categories:

 

Category

Indicator

What does it measure?

Environmental health

Water quality

The access of the population to drinking water and hygienic sanitary conditions

Air quality

The number of material particles present in the air, both inside homes and in public spaces.

Heavy metals

The exposure of people to lead contained in water, air, dust, and soils

The vitality of the Ecosystem

Habitat and Biodiversity

The protection of maritime and terrestrial areas as well as the habitat of the species.

Forests

The loss of trees in forest areas

Fishing

Overexploitation of fishing in exclusive economic zones of each country.

Climate and Energy

The weight of carbon, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions on the gross domestic product of each country.

Air pollution

The concentration of nitrous oxides (NOx ) and sulfurous oxides (SOx ) that are responsible for the acid rains.

Water management

The treatment of wastewater both residential and industrial

Farming

The efficient and adequate management of nitrogen as a fundamental nutrient for crops.

 

How are the Latin American countries on the list?

As might be expected, the countries with the best environmental performance are the developed countries, which can allocate ample resources to promote ecological practices and enjoy more stable institutions that contribute to the realization of such purposes. On the contrary, the countries with the worst performance are the most underdeveloped countries and with widespread poverty. Let's see the list of countries of the 10 best and 10 worst performers:

 

Top 10

#

Index

 

Worst 10

#

Index

Switzerland

one

87.42

 

Burundi

180

27.43

France

two

83.95

 

Bangladesh

179

29.56

Denmark

3

81.60

 

Rep. Dem. Congo

178

30.41

Malta

4

80.90

 

India

177

30.57

Sweden

5

80.51

 

Nepal

176

31.44

UK

6

79.89

 

Madagascar

175

33.73

Luxembourg

7

79.12

 

Haiti

174

33.74

Austria

8

78.97

 

Lesotho

173

33.78

Ireland

9

78.77

 

Niger

172

35.74

Finland

10

78.64

 

African Central Rep

171

36.42

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On the other hand, the countries of Latin America are located in the middle of the table with wide differences in the ranking between one and the other but with very similar performances if we measure them by their score. It tends to follow the same trend as economic and/or social indicators, where our countries are in the saga of Western Europe and North America but much more advanced than sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. This is the list of the top 10 positions in Latin America:

Top 10 in Latin America

#

Index

Costa Rica

30

67.85

Colombia

42

65.22

Dominican Republic

46

64.71

Uruguay

47

64.65

Venezuela

51

63.89

Cuba

55

63.42

Panama

56

62.71

Peru

64

61.92

Brazil

69

60.70

Mexico

72

59.69

An interesting data from the World Bank on the countries that most protect their territories in environmental terms shows an evolution of 8.2% of the total land surface protected worldwide in 1990 to 14.8% at present. The list of these countries is headed by Venezuela, which has declared 53.9% of its territory as protected areas, being the only Latin American country in this top 10 surrounded by developed countries.

It is interesting to note how in these studies the main economic powers are not included in the rankings, with the exception of France.

The two largest economies in the world measured by size, China and the US, are not exactly the most ecological according to these indicators and we can see this through their absence and/or hostility towards major global environmental initiatives such as the Protocol of Kyoto or the Paris Agreement, which implies that the global protection towards the environment may be diminished given the important role of these two countries in the world economy.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Alberto Lozada

Translated from "¿Está Latinoamérica cerca de construir 'países verdes'?

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