There is something that the world cannot deny: climate change is a prevalent and global concern. Temperatures have drastically increased due to human resource consumption, burning fossil fuels releasing greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels such as coal and oil have heightened the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide on earth, with the average earth temperature as of March 2020 stated as 1.16°C (2.09°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F) with the second-highest mark in a 141-year record. The changes caused by climate change are being experienced everywhere and will likely only intensify over time.
The extent of global warming is challenging to exaggerate. Ecosystems, wildlife, and human health are targeted on a worldwide scale. Although a few demonstrations prove helpful in reducing the effects, none have entirely reversed the impact. The current emphasis is on reducing the speed at which climate change is progressing. This global issue demands a global solution, and in regards to what we're doing to protect the environment for humanity's sake, some countries are attributing more than others.
It is necessary to state that the high-ranking nations addressed below are not impeccable at resource management per capita waste. In reality, some of the countries ranked high in particular fields of environmental stewardship are some of the same nations that produce the most waste.
It's also important to recognize that addressing environmental issues requires money, which poorer countries lack in getting accessible resources to tackle the most apparent ecological problem.
Peru (GDP per capita: $10,849)
The South American country established its first particularized environmental court to create some relevance to its environmental laws as it fights illegal mining, environmental degradation, and illegal trade in wildlife. Peru is also an active contributor in global processes to stimulate financial value for forest carbon to sustain efforts to decrease emissions from deforestation, govern forests sustainably, reinforce conservation, and enhance forest carbon stocks.
Also, the Peruvian government officially states environmental policies:
"1) regulation of its national payments for ecosystem services law.
2) a separate regulation of the Sanitation Sector Reform Law that initiates a process for water utilities to use payments for ecosystem services to secure water supply." (https://www.forest-trends.org/blog/peru-approves-new-innovative-environmental-policies/)
Denmark (GDP per capital: $47,270)
As a nation that utilizes progressive policies, Denmark has utilized sustainable practices as much climate change awareness. In particular, they have worked to improve air quality. Denmark's Parliament recently declared a carbon reduction plan law to reduce emissions by 70% of its 1990 carbon levels within ten years. A study revealed that 78.8% of Denmark's population was exposed to dangerous fine particle air pollution; now, this statistic has dropped to 56.9%, with increasing efforts reducing this threat. Denmark has made remarkable advancements in protecting not just their citizens but their environment as well. It tops the list of countries that have done the most to protect the earth as they continue to make ambitious strides towards preserving what's limited. They also have followed through with their commitment to drastically reduce their energy consumption and dependence on finite resources by relying on renewables. They plan on being independent of fossil fuels by 2050.
Bulgaria (GDP per capita: $18,606)
Bulgaria has made substantial progress in developing an ecologically sustainable economy after joining the European Union in 2007. They're motivated and utilize 16% of renewable energy, with results already being seen with the threatening air pollution decreasing by 43.3% in the country from 1990 to 2016. The Bulgarian government has also expressed genuine concern in protecting much of its land. An estimated 28% of its lands are reserved with restricted public access, such as wildlife sanctuaries, protected landscapes, and national parks managed for sustainable use.
Norway: (GDP per capita: $64,965)
Due to an overflow of hydropower, Norway's power system is technically 100% renewable. Nonetheless, the European nation has a higher per capita greenhouse emissions compared to other countries. Also, Norway has ratified the international Paris Agreement on climate change, targeting. They signed the Kyoto Protocol. This international agreement focuses on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Norway is currently progressing towards carbon neutrality by 2050.
Climate change is a universal problem, and these listed countries have demonstrated substantial impact in reducing their own greenhouse emissions. As most countries should, it does come at a cost. There is a bit of irony because now we struggle to manage the chaos we are the ultimate culprits of. That's why taking immediate action is the ideal form of support - managing your consumption and becoming aware of how our relationship with the environment stimulates much motivation to at least lessen our consequences.