The U.S. was beat out by 23 countries in a new analysis ranking worldwide performance on sustainability issues.
Researchers from Yale University and Columbia University ranked the U.S. 24th out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index 2020, an analysis of 32 environmental performance indicators.
Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland took the first three spots.
The researchers found that wealth and the pursuit of wealth were related to a nation’s environmental ranking.
Economically prosperous countries were found to have better environmental policy results. At the same time, countries that were in the pursuit of economic prosperity, like those beginning to industrialize and urbanize, often had more pollution.
The researchers said data indicated that nations that are governed well can often find a balance between sustainability and economic security.
The U.S. ranked three spots higher than it did in the last Index, but had a lower environmental performance index score. Nearly every one of the top 25 countries on the list had a lower EPI score compared to 2018.