mock Newsweek coverThe April 14th issue of Newsweek has a map and list of countries ranked according to their Green-ness, also known by the acronym EPI for environmental performance index. Israel ranked 64th. That is better than all of Israel’s neighbors, but not better than Iran, Turkey or Morocco, Gabon, Cypress or Greece. According to the article, Newsweek’s EPI/Green Rating was compiled, “With the help of Yale and Columbia universities and LinkedByAir.”

In January, Newsweek published the Green Ratings which showed Israel in 49th place. What accounts for the discrepancy? Could Israel have fallen 15 places in two months? A look at the sources quoted by Newsweek does not help us understand why Israel was dropped by Newsweek.

LinkByAir is involved with is the visuals, and they have done a great job. The Columbia and Yale study that Newsweek used in January, and the April 14th issue, is actually an international project: An Initiative of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP) and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) of Columbia University, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The study was released to coincide with Davos. Their website lists Israel as 49th, as do all their current reports.

(I have other questions about the study, which places Poland, Belarus, Russia, Hungary, and Slovakia, ahead of Israel—but that will wait to the next post.)

Let’s assume for the moment that Israel is not too green, and that Israel does more harm to the global climate as measured by the EPI than these former communist countries, and 40+ others. On what basis is Newsweek dropping Israel AND the US, but bolstering the rankings of some of others? The US was dropped from 39th in the EPI to 66th in Newsweek. Iran was boosted from 67th in the EPI to 55th in Newsweek and Turkey boosted from 72nd in the EPI to 50th by Newsweek.

Attempts to contact both the original author of the study and Newsweek were unfruitful. I left a message for the editor at Newsweek on their personal line. The lead author on the EPI study at Yale returned my call, but as of press time had not provided answers to my emailed questions.

So on what basis did Newsweek drop Israel 15 places? Pro-Israel bloggers want to know.

Next: What can Israel do to improve its EPI?

About the author

Rabbi Yonah

Loading comments...