The Union’s environment ministry on Wednesday refuted the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, which ranked India at the bottom of a list of 180 countries, saying that some of the indicators used are “extrapolated and based on conjecture and unscientific methods”.
The index, recently published by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, used 40 performance indicators in 11 categories to rate countries’ performance on climate change, environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
“The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 recently released has many indicators based on unfounded assumptions. Some of these indicators used to assess performance have been extrapolated and based on conjecture and unscientific methods,” the ministry said in a statement.
“A new indicator in the climate policy target is ‘projected GHG emission levels in 2050’. This is calculated based on the average rate of change in emissions over the past 10 years rather than models that take into account a longer time period, size of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency, etc. the respective countries.” the ministry said.
The country’s forests and wetlands are critical sinks of carbon, but they have not been taken into account when calculating the projected GHG emissions trajectory to 2050, given by EPI 2022. Historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the calculation, it said while it rejects the analysis.
The ministry said the weight of the indicators in which India performed well has been reduced and the reasons for such a change have not been explained in the report.
“The principle of equality is given a very low weight in the form of indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions per capita and the trend of the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions. The CBDR-RC principle is also hardly reflected in the composition of the index,” it said.
Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) recognizes the different capacities and different responsibilities of individual countries in tackling climate change.
The indicators for water quality, water use efficiency and waste generation per capita, which are closely related to sustainable consumption and production, are not included in the Index, the ministry said.
“The index emphasizes the size of protected areas rather than the quality of protection they provide. The management, effectiveness and evaluation of protected areas and eco-sensitive regions are not taken into account in the calculation of the biodiversity indices,” the report said.
The index calculates the size of ecosystems, but not their condition or productivity. It did not include indicators such as agrobiodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste, although they are important for developing countries with large agricultural populations.