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The United States comes in a mediocre 45th in a just-released ranking of environmental sustainability, out of 146 countries. Finland, Norway, Uruguay, Sweden, and Iceland took the top five spots, with their high scores attributed to “substantial natural resource endowments, low population density, and successful management of environment and development issues.”

The U.S. comes in just after the Netherlands (44th) and ahead of the United Kingdom (66th), and its ranking reflects top-tier performance on issues such as water quality and environmental protection capacity. But it fails on other issues, such as waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions.

The worst five countries in the world? From the bottom up: North Korea, Taiwan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Uzbekistan. Analysis of the data, the authors say, “makes it clear that also makes it clear that developed countries face environmental challenges, particularly pollution stresses and consumption-related issues, distinct from those facing developing countries, where resource depletion and a lack of capacity for pollution control are dominant concerns.”

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