These countries at the forefront of sustainable development
Nations considered to be among the most environmentally friendly are indeed in the top 10, along with the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
The Scandinavian countries, champions of sustainable development
The Scandinavian countries have the popular image of being environmentally friendly nations, with lifestyles and cities at the forefront of sustainable development. A reputation that has not been usurped, since Sweden and Norway are in the first two places of the "Global Green Index Economy", and Finland in eighth position.
Long before the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris conference (2015), Sweden embarked on a sustainable development program in the 1960s, taking full advantage of its natural advantages with the exploitation of hydraulic energy. . In 1999, the Swedish government adopted a program with fifteen (and subsequently sixteen) objectives to be achieved by 2020.
Among these is the prospect of producing 50% of the country's energy supply from renewable energies, which is already the case at 45%. And as to achieve its ambitions it is necessary to give itself the means, they are not lacking: a budget of 558 billion euros was allocated to the environment in 2010 - 2012. At the same time, 3,500 companies national governments are committed to eco-technologies, with 40,000 employees.
Norway is no slouch when it comes to sustainable development, although it is not a member of the European Union. Also making the best use of its hydroelectricity production potential, since 2010 Norway has required all its new buildings of more than 500 m² to produce 60% of their energy needs themselves using renewable energies. The country has also set itself the ambitious objective of no longer emitting carbon by 2030, that is to say of producing only renewable energies.
The German and Polish neighbors, two opposing cases
Germany occupies fourth place in the ranking of the American study, rewarding an energetic policy in favor of sustainable development. Historically served by limited natural resources, Germany also made the choice at the end of the 1990s to gradually withdraw from nuclear energy. More than an alternative, green energies are thus a virtual obligation for the great nation, which in 2010 embarked on a vigorous ecological program, providing a powerful boost to all European countries.
Thus, by 2050, Germany wishes to ensure 60% of its consumption using renewable energies, while reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. In practice, these objectives involve a 10% reduction in electricity consumption from 2020, and the obligation to construct passive buildings by the same deadline. At the same time, the production of green energies has generous budgetary appropriations, with rapid results: Germany is by far the first nation of solar energy production.
Far from these brilliant results, the eastern neighbor of Germany, Poland, leading to an obscure 54 th place in the American standings, then same as most European countries are in the first thirty positions. This is mainly due to an energy production focused more than three-quarters on coal, which in 2014 rejected 129 million tonnes of CO2 (but also 255 million for Germany, paradoxically a country still using this type of 'energy). Krakow, in southern Poland, and is the 3rd most polluted city in Europe.
In addition to the disabling fact of being geographically located in a basin, the superb city suffers in winter from its coal heating which spreads an opaque veil over its inhabitants, while threatening them with serious respiratory pathologies. Asthma, bronchopneumopathy but also cardiovascular diseases and cancers affect the inhabitants of this region of Poland abnormally. Forced to align itself with the environmental directives of the European Union (as a member), Poland has recently embarked on a policy of developing renewable energies, focusing in particular on wind energy. The task is proving difficult, however, as the country is the second largest producer of coal in Europe behind Germany.