Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Charticle: Indexing the Environment

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In 2006 Yale University, in collaboration with Columbia University, developed an Environmental Protection Index (EPI) that it applied in full in 2008. The goal: to create a comparative index of environmental policy to understand what governments are doing to protect their citizens’ health (environmental health) and the global environment (ecosystem vitality). The individual measures within those categories and their weights are displayed below. But here’s the problem: the EPI relies on the best environmental data available. In practice this means that 89 countries or territories aren’t included—24 of them in our hemisphere (see lower right in the charticle). Lack of credible data also prevented the inclusion of several key topics listed below. Let’s hope the EPI, together with public engagement, can help prod countries to provide this information.

View the Environmental Protection Index in the charticle from the Fall 2009 Americas Quarterly.


Jason Marczak is deputy director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council. He previously served as senior editor of Americas Quarterly and director of policy at Americas Society and Council of the Americas.

Tags: Carbon emissions, ecocystem, ecosystem vitality, environmental health, Environmental Performance Index, environmental regulation enforcement, EPI Report, heavy metals exposure, nuclear safety, recycling rates, urban particulates, wetlands
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