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Canada near tops in environmental performance

Canada ranks 10th overall with a score of 68.5 out of a possible 100.0—well above the OECD average (62.9).

Canada’s environmental record ranks in the top ten among comparable high-income countries around the world, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank.

“As Earth Day approaches, it’s important to acknowledge that Canada has an excellent environmental record when stacked up against the world’s richest, cleanest and most developed countries,” said Ross McKitrick, economics professor at the University of Guelph, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of Environmental Ranking for Canada and the OECD.

The study ranks 33 high-income countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on a wide range of environmental indicators that relate both to the protection of human health, such as air pollution, and the preservation of Canada’s ecosystems, such as water quality.

Canada ranks 10th overall with a score of 68.5 out of a possible 100.0—well above the OECD average (62.9). Notably, many of the top ranked countries are clustered closely together. For example, Canada (10th) and 3rd place New Zealand (which scored 73.8) are only five points apart. Sweden ranks 1st overall with a score of 78.9.

On some important measures, including health risks posed by water pollution (3rd), air quality (9th) and low-emitting electricity production (6th) Canada ranks particularly high.

These results are especially impressive considering that, compared to the other OECD countries, Canada is much larger and colder (which means more fuel consumption and emissions) and has a large natural resources industry.

“The reality is most wealthy, developed countries have established sound environmental protection systems, and Canada compares very favourably when stacked up against the best performers in the world,” McKitrick said.

“Despite what some critics claim, Canada’s environment is well-protected, especially on measures that directly affect the personal health of Canadians.”