Costa Rica ranks No. 3 out of 163 nations in the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), a biannual ranking system produced by Yale University and Columbia University.
The index, released Thursday, gauges a country’s “environmental health” and “ecosystem viability,” and scores nations in 10 policy categories that are divided into 25 environmental indicators.
The aggregate categories include analysis of each nation’s performance in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, water management, forestry and biodiversity, to name a few, and it builds on information gathered before 2009 from international organizations, universities and the United Nations.
Costa Rica scored 86.4 percent overall and ranked behind Switzerland, at 89.1 percent, and Iceland, at 93.5 percent.
Experts acknowledged, however, that data gaps existed in the information they used for the index. Many of the statistics came from questionable government reports that, in some cases, “are not subject to any external review.”
“High quality data combined with appropriate statistical analysis can certainly help policymakers identify problems and trends,” said Jay Emerson, a statistics professor at Yale. “Conclusions that emerge are only as good as the underlying data.”
Costa Rica climbed from No. 5 in the 2008 rankings and No.15 in 2006, the first year the indicator was published.