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Obstacles to go green

Russia does not use its possible reserves of sustainable development. This is the conclusion by analysts of Yale University. According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Russia is at the 106th place in the sustainability list. The reason is the lack of environmental policy priorities, inadequate forest management system and reliance on abundance of fossil resources.

Environmental Performance Index was originally designed to monitor the achievement of environmental objectives set out by the United Nations for the Millennium Development Goals. Environmental Performance Index is calculated every two years using a methodology for quantifying and comparing the effectiveness of environmental policies. The analysis of the state of the environment in different countries is presented with the use of most reliable of the available data. The study has been performed for 10 years already.

The list of parameters underlying the Environmental Performance Index is extensive: the indicators of "environmental health" (child and adult mortality, the number of environment-related diseases, sanitation and drinking water quality), the viability of ecosystems (conservation of forests, water bodies, fish stocks) as well as climate parameters (CO2 emissions per capita, GDP and kW hour).

Russia’s indicators look best of all from the viewpoint of the state of biodiversity. However, for many years experts note negative trends in reduction of fish stocks reproduction and the catastrophic scale of deforestation.

Most of other Russia’s environmental indicators are negative - from the air and drinking water qualities to the level of per capita emissions - by 23 points less than in the control group. Our country occupies the 92nd place in the list of CO2 emissions per capita.

In the environmental rating, Russia is among such countries as Trinidad and Tobago, Oman and Ukraine. In the list of the most environmentally unsound countries, Russia takes the 28th place, 10 points ahead of the United States.

The worst place for our country was on the list «Pilot Trend EPI», which systematizes positive change for the environment, which results from political and other efforts of the state. Here, Russia takes the 132nd place, at the very bottom of the list. For comparison, the former Soviet neighbor Latvia, who was at the 21st place two years ago, became now the second "green" country in the world.

Angel Hsyu, the Project Director for Environmental Performance Index, explains the situation: "The greatest wealth of Latvia is its resources: biodiversity, water, and air. Over recent years Latvia has made many efforts in implementation of various initiatives related to the environment, for example, rejected the use of coal for energy production and actively restored forests. Results are very noticeable. Likewise is the case with other countries in the top of the list."

The lack of environmental policy priorities, inadequate forest management system and reliance on abundance of fossil resources, which result in polluting the atmosphere and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, prevent Russia from making a step forward towards sustainability. Also, as evidenced by researchers at Yale University, Russia is held back from reaching the top of the "green list" by slow development of green technologies - renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency.