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    Environment Ministry Rebuts Environmental Performance Index 2022. Says Yale, Columbia Methods Are Unscientific

    EnvironmentAirEnvironment Ministry Rebuts Environmental Performance Index 2022. Says Yale,...
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    Environment Ministry Rebuts Environmental Performance Index 2022. Says Yale, Columbia Methods Are Unscientific

    A statement released by the government rebutted the Environmental Performance index 2022 that placed India at the very bottom of the index, arguing that the index has many indicators based on unfounded assumptions and that some of the indicators used for assessing performance are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods.

    The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said on Wednesday that the Environmental Performance index put up by researchers at Yale University and the Columbia University is based on unfounded assumptions. Further, it said that some of the indicators used for assessing performance are extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods.

    Using the trajectory of the past 10 years as a basis for projecting 2050 emissions, the biennial index had forecast that the vast majority of countries will not achieve the goal, and a number of nations are projected to fall far short.

    The Indian government’s rebuttal says that the Ministry of Environment does not accept its analysis and conclusions. For one, it says, that a new indicator in the climate policy objective is the projected GHG emissions levels in 2050, that has been computed on the basis of average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years. Instead, the ministry feels that it would be more acceptable if it were based on a modelling that takes into account a longer time period, extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency etc. of respective countries.

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    The government also argues that the country’s forests and wetlands have not been factored in while computing the projected GHG emissions trajectory up to 2050 given by EPI 2022. This ignores these crucial carbon sinks.

    It further says that researchers have ignored historical data on the lowest emission trajectory.

    Do also read: India Falls to Bottom of Biennial Environmental Performance Index

    Devil sits in the detail

    The weight of indictors in which the country was performing well has been reduced and reasons for change in assignment of weights has not been explained in the report, according to the press release put out by the government.

    The principle of equity is given very low weightage in the form of the indicators like GHG emission per capita and GHG Emission intensity trend. The CBDR-RC principle is also barely reflected in the composition of the index.

    India has already achieved the target of 40 per cent of installed electricity capacity from non- fossil fuel based sources, the government says.

    “The Copernicus air pollutant concentration data based on which DALYs are derived have higher uncertainty in regions with less extensive monitoring networks and emissions inventories,” the press release says. “This limitation reduces the chance of accurate assessment of air quality.”

    The indicators on water quality, water use efficiency and waste generation per capita, both of which are closely linked to sustainable consumption and production have been not included in the Index.

    The Index emphasizes the extent of protected areas rather than the quality of protection that they afford, the ministry of environment says. “Management effectiveness evaluation of protected areas and eco-sensitive regions is not factored into the computation of biodiversity Indices.”

    Indicators like agro biodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste   are not included even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations, the ministry of environment and forests argues.

    “The index computes extent of ecosystems but not their condition or productivity. Efforts must be made to include metrics that truly capture ecosystem productivity such that regulatory, provisioning as well as cultural services provided by various ecosystems like forests, wetlands, croplands are assessed and reflected in performance.”

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