Crystal Clear Climate Change Reports

Having just done aa post here about Interactive Media, Michael Sprung, UWO MBA1978, sent a link to a superb contemporary Report on Climate Change on the Bloomberg website. The Interactive Graphics are packed with info and really help to clarify the relative position of major countries in terms of their commitment to contributing to and controlling carbon emissions so vital to climate change dynamics. Here is the major graphic:

Share of total primary energy consumption by country and source
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Readers are strongly encouraged to view this Bloomberg Interactive Graphic for the clear insight it provides.

Following My Own Advice

Your writer, Jacques Surveyer – UWO MBA1978, did peer into the numbers and found some interesting trends. First, India’s energy use is growing fast:
enrgyAs can be seen from the graph, Energy use in India has seen hockey puck growth, more than doubling in the 16 years from 2000. And like South Korea the biggest increase has been in fossil fuels and coal.

And following weather patterns in India, there are two  great impending motivations for  India to contribute to climate change  action. The first is the life threatening issue of heat waves – they are becoming more devastating over the past 3 years leading to questions of whether portions of the Northern Indian plateau will become uninhabitable. Here is what transpired this year before the monsoons:

iniaheatThe current monsoons have relieved the Heat wave dropping temperatures by 20 Degrees Celsius across the populous plateau. But for Mumbai and other areas the monsoons have brought catastrophic flooding. However the flooding patterns bring  a cautionary warning. The flooding trends have seen broad fluctuations as seen in this BBC report asking whether Mumbai rains: Is India’s weather becoming more extreme? The recent historical graphs show no consistent pattern of flooding increase. But the second problem of air pollution is not in doubt.

As can be seen from the above chart of India’s energy use, the amount of coal and fossil fuels used in India have risen dramatically to more than 80% of annual usage. But as pointed out in this Vox report on India’s air pollution studies identifies coal as a major problem. However, home cooking and heating using wood and dung are also major contributors to air pollution in India. The problem according to Foreign Policy is that India’s plans for controlling air pollution are subject to gross political misconduct- blatantly False Policy projections by Cabinet Minister Nitin Gadkari. Even among Indian Statisticians and Scientists there is dismay at the turn of events. Just to the North of India, China wrestles with similar air pollution and environmental problems.

China’s Climate and Environmental Problems

The Council on Foreign Relations wrote a telling report in 2015 on the Environmental Crisis in China – the opening overview states the case:

“China’s environmental crisis is one of the most pressing challenges to emerge from the country’s rapid industrialization. Its economic rise, in which GDP grew on average 10 percent each year for more than a decade, has come at the expense of its environment and public health. China is the world’s largest source of carbon emissions, and the air quality of many of its major cities fails to meet international health standards. Life expectancy north of the Huai River is  5.5 years lower than in the south due to air pollution (life expectancyin China is 75.3 years, according to 2013 UN figures). Severe water contamination and scarcity have compounded land deterioration. Environmental degradation threatens to undermine the country’s growth and exhausts public patience with the pace of reform. It has also bruised China’s international standing and endangered domestic stability as the ruling party faces increasing scrutiny and public discontent. More recently, amid waning economic growth, leaders in Beijing appear more determined to institute changes to stem further degradation.”

When compared to the US energy usage profile , another pattern emerges as seen in the graph below:
First Energy usage in the US has plateaued over a decade and a half while in China it is peaking as well butat a  40% higher level than the US. But for China, Coal, the dirtiest polluter, is 5 times the Us levels and despite Donald Trump’s backing EIA estimates that total U.S. coal consumption for 2019 will decline by 98 MMst (14%) from 2018 levels and will decline by a further 22 MMst (4%) in 2020. Nearly all coal consumed in the United States is for electric power.

But look what is happening in renewable energy sources between the two countries. China has pledged itself to dominate the renewable market and currently has taken the lead in Wind Power equipment to the chagrin of American Wind Turbine manufacturers who have been fleeced by Chinese IP theft. Likewise in solar energy, China has taken a leading position in manfacturing and installation of solar panels doubling the US or the European  new install rate. The net result is China’s renewable energy usage  is growing faster than the US and the rest of the world.

But Air Pollution remains a stubborn problem with so much coal usage. In fact, air pollutions has a negative effect on solar power production Ars Technica is  reporting a 13% decline in solar panel power production in China due to air pollution. But the critical factor is the impact on Health. And the following NCBI report shows the seriousness of continuing problems:
One can see why the projected lifespan in China is 5.3 years longer in the South versus the North when the longest duration of good quality air days is between zero and one for the Fall and Winter months. This is a life survival problem. It is more serious in nature than say the Extradition to Mainland China challenge currently racking Hong Kong with hundreds of thousands of protesters.In shot, expect air pollution to stress the Communist party leadership as much as US- Chin tariff negotiations.

Summary

This is another look at news Medias’ use of  Interactive Graphics It is a test of how when well designed and presented data can provide clear insights into political problems. With the Bloomberg Interactive Graphics, the Vox, Ars Technica, BBC  and other Climate Change and  environmental reports foond in the review  become much clearer – in fact crystal clear.

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