New report ranks environmental efforts

LM �so what did Switzerland do right to get the #1 ranking on your environmental score card?� DE �Well Switzerland is a country that is invested environmental infrastructure in a very big way, it has extremely high water quality, good pollution control devices in almost all companies, and I think most notably what sets them apart from the rest of the pack is their very carbon efficient economy. It's a country that's got low emissions from its power generating sector with a lot of hydro power and imported nuclear power from France. It's also a country that's got a very efficient transportation system, from greenhouse gas emissions point of view�lots of shipping by rail, much less by truck and much less car driving than you might find in other countries, particularly the United States.� LM �since you mentioned it, Switzerland distinguished itself in one direction. The United States also has but apparently in the opposite direction.� DE �Well the United States comes in 39th out of 149 countries we've ranked. So that's not a terribly impressive performance for one of the richest countries in the world and the US, frankly, has got a very uneven record. It's absolutely tops in some issues, providing safe drinking water, forest management, the investment in infrastructure for sanitation, the US is absolutely tops in the world. But there are a whole set of other issues, most notably greenhouse gas emissions and climate change policy, where the US is lagging badly and it's really among the lowest tier in the world.� LM �what are the other countries in the top ten?� DE �top ten is Switzerland #1, then Sweden, Norway, Finland, Costa Rica, Austria, New Zealand, Latvia, Colombia and France. Not all rich countries�Costa Rica is a middle income country and it has invested very heavily in making environmentally core elements for the national psyche. It's a country that has committed to going carbon neutral and has done a great deal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.� LM �how come Colombia in South America got such a high ranking?� DE �Well Colombia is another middle income country where they've made significant investments in environmental public health, building drinking water supplies and better sanitation, and they don't have the industrial base that the US has and frankly their greenhouse gas emissions profile is much less intensive than ours.� LM �so how did you get to Davos?� DE �I flew which is hard to avoid, it's a long trip by boat. But then I took the public bus that was available from the airport to the Davos site.� LM �and I understand some of the Davos organizers have actually made an effort to see that various people there have offset their carbon footprint. What have they done?� DE �there's a Davos climate participants and I've taken up the offer to go online, calculate your carbon emissions and then pay for an offset to ensure that while your own emissions cannot be eliminated, you can ensure that some other emissions that would've occurred will be displaced.� LM �so how big is your footprint and how much are you paying to offset it?� DE �I don't remember the exact total in terms of carbon dioxide emitted but the charge to me was $186 dollars.� LM �wow, you're doing a lot of traveling I guess.� DE �well I guess it's fully offsetting all of the pieces, not only the air miles flown but all of the pieces what might be involved here.� LM �We should mention that a forum spokesperson here mentioned that up to 70% of the emissions caused by people at the forum will be offset by a program that's going to send 17,000 solar cookers to northwest China which is a very poor region that's suffering from a lot of soil and water loss.�

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