Every other year the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is released at the World Economic Forum. It's a list of the greenest, cleanest nations (and the not-so-green) compiled by environmental experts from Yale and Columbia universities. The list indexes 163 countries and judges them on a scale of 0-100 on 25 different factors, compiled into the following categories: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change.
This year, Iceland ranked first with "high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation," according to the report. Not far behind were Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Sweden, "all of which have made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control, and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability."
What about the US? We ranked 61st, falling from 39th place in 2008's study. Why the decline? The EPI's press release stated: