Luxembourg loses ranks in Environmental Performance Index

The grand duchy placed sixth out of 180 countries in the world in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).

With a score of 72.30–a 13.5 change over 10 years–the country lost 4 ranks compared to the Index results from 2020. During the first year of the pandemic, the grand duchy had garnered 82.3 points out of 100, placing it on the second spot.

Published every two years by Yale University, the study this time placed Denmark (77.90), the UK (77.70) and Finland (76.50) at the top of the ranking, based on 40 performance indicators in 11 categories such as ecosystem vitality, health and climate policy. Overall, the countries in the top ten saw their EPI score go down over the last two years.

According to the authors of the 2022 EPI study, the covid-19 pandemic and the rebound that followed in 2021 can partially be blamed for the lack of improvement. Aside from air pollution–which had significantly decreased during lockdown–single-use plastics such as face masks or plastic food containers have “pushed the world further away from a circular economy,” they stated on their website.

“Policymakers now have a chance to rebuild their economies and societies on a more sustainable basis that preserves the pandemic-induced gains in environmental health and ecosystem vitality–but the latest data suggest that this opportunity is being squandered across most of the world,” they added.

Luxembourg got a full score and first place in household solid fuels, drinking water sanitation and in waste management. It also ranked first in the acidification category–for both the SO2 growth rate and the NOx growth rate, with a score of 100. While it was 2nd in the species protection index, the country didn’t do as well for its work in species habitat (152).

The country got the 164th rank out of 180 countries in greenhouse gas emissions per capita, with a score of 9.10 out of 100. This reflects Luxembourg’s poor track record in terms of its global footprint. In 2022, the grand duchy’s “overshoot day” was on 14 February, months ahead of Earth Overshoot Day, which this year was on 27 July.