A new study conducted by the University of Adelaide (Australia), Princeton University, and the National University of Singapore has ranked the world's countries according to their negative impact on the environment.* The research involves 228 countries and is based on seven indicators of environmental degradation: natural forest loss, habitat conversion, marine life, fertilizer use, water pollution, carbon emissions, and species threats.
Based on the study, the countries with what was termed “the most absolute environmental impact” are (from worst negative impact):
1.  Brazil
2.  United States
3.  China
4.  Indonesia
5.  Japan
6.  Mexico
7.  India
8.  Russia
9.  Australia
10. Peru

“The study also found that the wealthier the country, based on gross national income, the more likely they are to be an [environmental] offender,” says Cynthia Schultz, COO of Sustainable Dashboard Tools, LLC.
Schultz adds that the big concern is that there is now considerable evidence that “the negative environmental impact of these and [many] other countries is resulting in a loss of habitats and species, which is compromising ecosystems that support the quality of human life of people all over the world.”
She concludes that “we must view sustainablity as a win for the planet, a win for countries around the world, and a win for cost savings as well.”
*Source: “Evaluating the Relative Environmental Impact of Countries,” May 3, 2010; published in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed scientific and medical research publication.