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Researchers from Yale and Columbia Universities, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, recently released the 2012 Environmental Performance Index ranking 132 countries in environmental performance. Categories for placement include air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity and forest management.

Interestingly, the United States placed significantly behind other industrialized nations at 49th. France, the United Kingdom and Germany all ranked in the top 15 countries. The top five rankings go to Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg and Costa Rica.

The bottom of the list is comprised of countries that are facing a multitude of challenges. The worst five rated countries are Iraq, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and South Africa.