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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Continued environmental degradation
9/25/2013
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Latin American nations top list of countries that contribute to the negative impact on the environment.

Brazil, Mexico and Peru are among the top 10 countries of the world that contribute to environmental degradation, according to the investigation “Evaluating the Relative Environmental Impact of Countries” conducted by the University of Adelaide (Australia), Princeton University (United States) and National University of Singapore.

The study, which evaluated 171 countries, used seven environmental degradation indicators:  natural forests loss, habitat conversion, marine captures, fertilizer use, water pollution, carbon emissions and species threat.

One of the important findings is that the wealthier a country is, the greater its impact on the environment.

“We correlated rankings against three socio-economic variables (human population size, gross national income and governance quality) and found that total wealth was the most important explanatory variable; the richer a country, the greater its average environmental impact,” explained Professor Corey Bradshaw, who led the investigation that was carried out in 2010. “There is a theory that as wealth increases, nations have more access to clean technology and become more environmentally aware so that the environmental impact starts to decline. This wasn’t supported,” he added.

However, the investigation also found that in countries with poor governance and high corruption, environmental protection policies are nonexistent or are not adequately implemented.

The document warned that “continued degradation of nature despite decades of warning, coupled with the burgeoning human population, suggest that human quality of life could decline substantially in the near future. Increasing competition for resources could therefore lead to heightened civil strife and more frequent wars. Continued environmental degradation demands that countries needing solutions be identified urgently so that they can be assisted in environmental conservation and restoration.”
—Latinamerica Press.

LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN
Absolute composite environmental rank*

 

Country
Rank
Score
Brazil
1
4.5
Mexico
6
13.6
Peru
10
18.3
Argentina
11
19.6
Colombia
20
30.7
Ecuador
21
31.6
Venezuela
22
31.8
Chile
27
35.0
Bolivia
36
43.9
Honduras
52
59.1
Paraguay
56
60.1
Guatemala
58
60.2
Costa Rica
63
63.1
Trinidad and Tobago
71
67.9
Panama
78
71.2
Haiti
83
74.2
Nicaragua
90
78.9
Uruguay
102
86.9
El Salvador
112
90.9
Cuba
115
91.8
Dominican Republic
118
93.0
Guyana
119
93.6
Jamaica
133
99.6
Puerto Rico
142
109.5
Belize
143
111.2
Dominica
147
113.6
Suriname
158
127.4
Bahamas
159
129.5
St. Kitts and Nevis
163
133.3
St. Vicent and Grenadines
165
136.1
Barbados
167
146.3
Grenada
169
148.9
Santa Lucia
170
158.3
Antigua and Barbuda
171

160.4

*Lower ranks, higher negative impact.

Source: University of Adelaide Environment Institute/PLoS One


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