While, perhaps understandably, China is the biggest polluter in the world, there is some heartening news for the economic powerhouse where carbon is concerned.

According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which is the product of Yale and Columbia universities in the USA, China has slowed the rate of growth of its green house gas emissions over the past decade. This, it is argued in an article published in The Economist, "is partly a natural result of its development, which has led to investment in better technology and cleaner industries, but it is also thanks to policies to improve efficiency and boost renewable energy."

China is ranked 118th in the pollution charts, beating India (155th) but not better than South Africa (72nd), Russia (73rd) or Brazil (77th).

When it comes to air quality, China was at the very bottom based on the exposure of the population to what is known as PM2.5, otherwise known as fine particulate matter. Other major offenders include India where air pollution in Delhi has reached unacceptable levels.

In China the average human exposure to PM2.5 was 48 micrograms per cubic metre. In India it was 32 micrograms. The World Heath Organisation claims that anything over 10 is deemed unhealthy.

In more general terms, the shining light, the number one nation, the green goddess, so to speak, was Switzerland. In last place? Somalia.

Source: The Economist