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Ideas for the environment – what are countries doing to save the world for future generations?

03.05.20234 min read

Stopping negative environmental changes has become a global challenge taken up by governments around the world. Firm and decisive action is needed to save the world for future generations.

According to the World Bank, land, air and water pollution can be linked to more than 7 million premature deaths worldwide each year. This figure is several times higher than the statistics regarding victims of deadly diseases, including AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and traffic accidents combined. Greenpeace report “Toxic Air. The Price of Fossil Fuels” shows that fossil fuel-related air pollution costs the world USD 8 billion a day. On an annual basis, that adds up to USD 2.9 trillion, or 3.3% of global GDP.

Environmental Performance Index

Scientists have drawn our attention to the rapid rise in temperatures on Earth and they warn that unless decisive action is taken, it will have dire consequences for the environment. Global warming is already causing glaciers to melt, many species of plants and animals to perish, and the world to be haunted by natural disasters. For years there has been talk of the need to take action to protect the environment. National governments have an important role to play. Many countries have managed to take a huge step towards a green transformation. Countries are classified in terms of their environmental performance using the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which is compiled by the world’s leading universities: Yale University and the Columbia University.

Environmental Performance Index in 2022

  • 180 countries
  • 40 performance indicators
  • 11 categories
  • 3 environmental policy targets

The 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, the EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality.

In 2022 the leaders have been: Denmark, United Kingdom, Finland, Malta, Sweden, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and Iceland.

Deposit systems

Denmark owes its position to the construction of a world-class green energy system. The country has focused on increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, an important factor in a country where heating is necessary for more than half of the year. Furthermore, Danish residents have shifted from cars to bicycles. In 2016, the number of bicycles on Danish roads overtook the number of cars. The country also decided on a deposit system 20 years ago.

In 2002, the so-called Dansk Retursystem (or Danish Return System) took effect. It allows Danes to return plastic and glass bottles to vending machines. Discipline is high – 9 out of 10 people do it regularly.

Deposit systems, under plastic bottles and cans can be returned, also operate in other countries, such as Norway, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Lithuania.

Carbon taxes

Data from Earth.Org shows that not only European Union countries, but also 27 countries outside the EU have now decided on such a tax, among them: Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and Ukraine. Other countries that are considering joining the system include Brazil, Brunei, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.

According to the World Bank, 64 carbon pricing initiatives are currently in place around the world at various regional, national and subnational levels, with three more to be implemented.

Photo: Getty Images

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