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After dropping more than 20 spots this year in one ranking that measures how well countries are working to protect the environment, the United States is taking steps to improve its environmental impact.
The 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries based on 10 indicators of environmental protection, such as levels of air pollution, marine protection laws, water quality, and their rate of planting new trees. The EPI is composed biannually by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University.
The U.S. came in 61st place with a score of 63.5 out of 100, a significant drop from landing in 39th place with an EPI score of 81.0 in 2009.
"We're the only country that has a significant amount of people that don't believe in climate change," said Marc Levy, deputy director of Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). "The central challenge of our time is to help people understand what's happening around them."