Countries with Worst Eco Impact: Brazil, USA, China

May 5th, 2010

It seems that being a wealthy nation hasn’t kept the US from committing environmental sins. I suppose no one is surprised given that we can’t cap an oil well in the ocean.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide‘s Environment Institute in Australia just ranked countries for their environmental impact, and the US was a right there in the top three for total environmental degradation on a global scale.

The study revealed that the total wealth of a country, measured by gross national income, was the biggest driver of environmental impact.

“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,” commented the Environment Institute’s Director of Ecological Modelling Professor Corey Bradshaw.

It’s a shame the US hasn’t used its power and wealth to soften its ecological footprint.


For the rankings, researchers analyzed natural forest loss, habitat conversion, fisheries and other marine captures, fertilizer use, water pollution, carbon emissions from land use and species threat. The study is published online in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

About the environmental rankings

Seven indicators of environmental degradation were used to create two rankings:

  • Absolute environmental impact index —  measures total environmental degradation on a global scale
  • Proportional environmental impact index —  impact is measured against total resource availability

According to the absolute environmental impact index, the worst 10 countries (worst listed first) are Brazil, USA, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, India, Russia, Australia and Peru.

According to the proportional environmental impact index, the world’s worst 10 worst environmental performers are Singapore, Korea, Qatar, Kuwait, Japan, Thailand, Bahrain, Malaysia, Philippines and Netherlands.

(image via MorgueFile)

3 Responses to “Countries with Worst Eco Impact: Brazil, USA, China”

  1. Diana on May 5, 2010 10:04 pm

    It’s a not me, and a money issue. My in laws think there’s nothing wrong with clean coal, and digging up our national parks for gas and oil. They want something cheap, not something they won’t see a return on for years.

  2. Peggy on May 6, 2010 5:17 pm

    I think you’re right about the money issue and the “not me.” For example, this oil spill stuff is all of us, not just BP. They were providing something that we all buy.

  3. giovanni on June 27, 2010 1:22 pm

    Let’s blame BUSH for the BP spill!!! Ha ha ha but seriously how is it the USA fault??? Is not BP an abbreviation for “British Petroleum”?

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