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Electrical and electronic waste in 2019: 7.3 kg per person on earth. Africa: 2.5kg per person, Norway: 24kg per person

October 7, 2020

The Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership has published the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 which shows that in 2019, the world generated 53.6 million tons of e-waste, or 7.3 kg of e-waste per person on earth.

The amount of e-waste generated has grown by 20% since 2014, and is expected to keep growing. Rich countries generate more e-waste per person than poor countries, with Norway generating the most. About 17.4%of all e-waste is documented to be recycled, unchanged since 2014.

CO2 emissions by global income group: The 10% richest people on earth are responsible for more than half of all CO2 emissions

September 21, 2020

This chart uses data from the Oxfam and Stockholm Environment Institute joint research report on how CO2 emissions are distributed between income groups.

The report shows that over the period from 1990 to 2015, the top 10% richest people on earth were responsible for more than half (52%) of all CO2 emitted in the period. The poorest 50% contributed only 7% of cumulative emissions. The middle 40% income group were behind 41% of all CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse Gas emissions by sector, 2016

September 17, 2020

This chart uses data from World Resources Institute and shows which sectors greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N20, etc) emissions originate from.

WRI provides an even more detailed analysis into each sector. As an example, while 15.9% of emissions are from transport, road transport is by far the largest contributor (11.9%) with air transport at 1.9% and ship at 1.7%. Rail contributes only 0.4%

Cost of electricity generation in the United States in 2025: Solar photovoltaic least expensive technology

September 10, 2020

A report from the US Energy Information Administration has estimated the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) generation for new plants coming online in the United States in 2025. LCOE includes all aspects of building and running plants such as financial costs, fuel, operations, management and more.

Photovoltaic solar plants will be the least expensive, with roughly the same costs as geothermal, combined cycle natural gas, and onshore wind turbines.

Coal-fired plants will remain an expensive option. As another post on our site shows, offshore wind costs are decreasing rapidly but remain high in the near term.

Cost of renewable power generation decreasing sharply, now competitive with fossil fuel based power generation

September 9, 2020

IRENA has published a detailed study on the cost of utility-scale power generation at a global level based on renewable resources. The report shows a clear trend in LCOE (levelised cost of electricity, which includes financial costs, operations, management etc) for renewable power generation: New solar and wind power plants are now less expensive than most coal-fired plants. Since 2019, the cost of utility scale solar power has decreased by 82%

The grey band in the chart represents the range of costs for fossil fuel based plants.

According to IRENA, the comparable costs for fossil fuel based power plants varies from 0.05 $/kWh (new Chinese coal-fired plants located close to coal mines) to 0.177 $/kWh.

Initial Covid-19 impact on air traffic: 85-90% decrease at Amsterdam Airport. Traffic now at 60% of normal levels

September 3, 2020   |   Chart updates daily

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol usually has about 650 airplane arrivals per day. Since mid-March, the number of airplane arrivals has dropped to about 70-90 per day, a decrease of more than 85%

Covid-19 travel restrictions: The Dutch government put in place restrictions starting on March 13 2020 when all flights to and from China, Italy, Iran and South Korea were cancelled. Since then a number of additional restrictions have been put in place, stopping all non-essential travel.

This chart is updated daily.

Covid-19 impact in Spain: Electricity consumption down about 20%, now back to normal

The chart uses data from Red Electrica de Espana, the operator of the Spanish electricity grid. The chart shows the daily electricity consumption for this year compared to the last five years. In mid-March power consumption dropped about 20% with weekday consumption down from about 750GWh to 600GWh per day. Since the beginning of August electricity consumption is back at normal levels.

Covid-19 in Spain: Events started shutting down in late February, the first schools closures were announced on March 9, and National lockdown started on March 14

The unusual pattern in the usage is because power consumption is far lower on weekends than on weekdays. This chart is updated daily.

Covid-19 impact in Norway: Reduced road traffic, but now above normal levels

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration monitors vehicle traffic at hundreds of locations in Norway. This chart displays the number of cars per day passing Oslo/Ring 3/Smestad. In March-April 2019, weekday traffic volume was around 55000 cars per hour, weekend traffic 30000-35000 cars per day.

After Covid-19 lockdown measures were implemented in Norway on March 12, weekday traffic fell to about 32000 cars per day, but has since increased to beyond normal levels.

This chart is updated daily.

Will the Covid-19 pandemic cause a reduction in CO2 levels? No.

With reduced travel and reduced economic activity, global CO2 emissions might be lower than previous years. However, even reduced CO2 emissions add to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The chart uses data from NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA and shows the atmospheric CO2 levels for each of the last 10 years. Ever since measurements started there has been a consistent increase in atmospheric CO2 of about 0.5 - 0.6% per year.

So far in 2020 the atmospheric CO2 levels are higher than ever before, as indicated by the upper line in the chart. This chart is updated daily based on measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory.

Covid-19 confirmed deaths per million per day per region

September 16, 2020  |  Chart updates daily

This chart uses data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE) and shows the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 Coronavirus deaths. The chart is updated every 24 hours.

In these charts, Northern America consists of USA, Canada, Greenland, Bermuda and St Pierre and Miquelon. Latin America consists of all countries south of the USA, including the Caribbean countries.

Covid-19 confirmed deaths per day

These charts use data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE)

The charts show the number of deaths per day averaged over the last seven days.

This chart is updated every 24 hours.

Covid-19 deaths per capita: Top 20 countries

This chart uses data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE) and shows the current top 20 countries hardest hit by Covid-19 in terms of confirmed deaths per one million inhabitants. Countries with less than 50000 inhabitants are not included.

This chart is updated every 24 hours. JHU CSSE updates their data around midnight UTC, this chart is automatically updated shortly thereafter.

We use 100 billion tons of resources per year. Half of it goes straight to waste.

According to the Circularity Gap Report 2020 we now (2017) use more than 100 billion tons (Gt) of resources every year. That's about 13 tons per person on earth. We use 24 Gt of biomass (plants and trees, seafoods and animals), 15 Gt of fossil fuels, and over 60 Gt of metal ores and minerals.

38% of resources are used for buildings, 21% for food and drink, 9-10% each for transport, healthcare and services, 7% for consumables such as clothing and other stuff, and 5% for communication.

In the end, 55% is wasted (either in the environment or collected) and 14% goes up in smoke. The rest, about 31% is in use. About 8% is recovered or reused.

CO2 emissions and GDP

With data from EIA, we can see a certain relationship between emissions and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The chart uses GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) along the X-axis, and emissions per capita along the Y-axis.

In other words, poor regions with low emissions end up in the lower left hand corner, while rich regions with high emissions are in the top right hand corner.

Glaciers in Norway are shrinking

All glaciers tracked by NVE - Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate over the last 100 years are shrinking. The chart shows how the position of the front edge of the glaciers have retreated by between 600 meters and 3.1 kilometers (2 miles).

This particular chart is best viewed in landscape mode.

Atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing

The NOAA/ESRL (Earth Systems Research Laboratory) operates the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, collecting atmospheric data every hour since the 1950s.

Notice the saw-tooth pattern in the chart: There are more forests in the Northern hemisphere than in the Southern hemisphere. During the northern winter, the forests release CO2 to the atmospere. When spring comes in the north, forests starts consuming CO2 as part of photosynthesis and this reduces the level in the atmosphere.
The chart is updated monthly.

CO2 levels over the last 2000 years

This chart contains data from the Law Dome ice core drilled in East Antarctica. The CO2 data starts at year 154 and ends in 1996, and provides more detail than the "Vostok" dataset.

The Law Dome data set shows how atmospheric CO2 levels started rising sharply in the second half of the 1800's, when fossil fuels started powering the industrial revolution.

CO2 levels over the last 420.000 years

This chart contains data from the "Vostok" ice core drilled in Antarctica in 1998 as a collaborative project between France, Russia and USA. The CO2 data goes back over 400.000 years, and shows how CO2 levels in the air has varied between 180 and 280ppm through four climate cycles.

By combining the "Vostok" dataset with the Mauna Loa dataset, we clearly see the sharp increase in CO2 levels the last 100 years.

CO2 emissions by region - Asia is driving the growth

While emissions are declining in Europe and North America, Asia is driving the growth in global emissions. Most Asian countries have far lower emissions per capita than western countries, but emissions will increase as more people move towards a higher standard of living. China, the country with the highest emissions in the world, still has only about one third of the emissions per capita compared to countries such as USA, Canada and Australia.

Emissions from international transport such as shipping and air travel is counted as a separate region.

This chart is based on December 2019 data from Global Carbon Project

Greenhouse gas emissions Norway

While CO2 emissions have increased from 35 to 42 million tons per year since 1990, emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFC) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) from the aluminum and magnesium industries are now close to 0. Emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) from air-con and cooling systems have increased, but this should be sharply reduced soon as new coolants with lower global warming potential is being used. More on this at Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Oil and gas production represents about 27% of total Norwegian emissions. These emissions are expected to be reduced in the future at the cost of higher global emissions, when on-shore hydroelectric power replaces off-shore gas turbines for powering oil and gas extraction. Numbers are in million tons CO2 equivalents.

Atmospheric methane levels are increasing

Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global heating potential 25 times that of CO2. Sources of methane are natural gas manufacturing, agriculture, waste management, coal mining and more. About two thirds of methane emissions are from human activities. NOAA tracks the atmospheric levels of methane using a global network of monitoring sites.

The US Environmental Protection Agency EPA has a good overview of the various greehouse gases and their impact.

Methane levels are measured in ppb (parts per billion). The chart is updated monthly.

Ice extent in the Arctic close to record lows. July 2020 showed lowest ice coverage for any July month since measurements began

Updated September 14, 2020

NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center at University of Colorado) provides imagery and data to help understand how sea ice is retreating in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Sea ice extent is defined as areas of the sea with at least 15% ice cover. The extent of sea ice is measured in thousands of square kilometers. The chart shows the annual cycle for several years. In the Arctic, sea ice cover is at its lowest in September, before the onset of winter.

The NSIDC dataset contains ice extent data since 1979. July 2020 is the lowest month of July ever measured. September 2012 had the lowest ice cover recorded. This chart is updated monthly.

World population will stabilize at about 11 billion in 2100

World population is currently 7.7 billion. The UN projects that the number of people on earth will reach about 11 billion in year 2100, and will then remain stable.

Virtually all the population growth will be in Africa, where the population will grow by 3 billion from 1.3 to 4.3 billion.

Global oil production: 100 million barrels per day, steadily increasing

According to January 2020 data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA, global oil production is now around 100 million barrels of oil per day. Production is not slowing down.

According to the International Energy Agency IEA , peak oil is nowhere in sight, with the sharp growth in US shale oil leading the growth in the coming years. Other countries representing future growth are Brazil, Norway and Guyana.

Global gas production is accelerating

According to November 2019 data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA, global production of natural gas is accelerating. Other charts on our site confirm this, and show that gas is in fact the main driver of increased CO2 emissions globally, ahead of coal and oil.

Production numbers are in 1000 BCM - Billion cubic meters

Note: EIA uses the term Eurasia to denote the countries in the former Soviet Union

Coal production increasing again

According to February 2019 data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA, global coal production is rising again after declining since the 2013 peak. China and USA are increasing coal production again. China alone represents 45% of total global coal production.

The chart shows annual coal production in million metric tons since 1980. For more on peak coal, read Forbes article on coal demand

Note: EIA uses the term Eurasia to denote the countries in the former Soviet Union

Global electricity generation, steady increase in Asia

Charts based on data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA. The increase in global electricity generation is mainly due to China.

Figures in this chart are in 1000 TWh (terawatt hours)

Note: EIA uses the term Eurasia to denote the countries in the former Soviet Union

CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased by 2% in 2018. Natural Gas was the biggest contributor to this increase

According to fossil fuel and cement production emissions data provided by the Global Carbon Project there was a 2% increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in 2018. Natural gas represented the biggest part of this increase. Coal is the number one source of CO2 with 37% oil 34% and gas 20%.

Note that 2017 and 2018 data are preliminary. The chart will be updated as soon as final data become available.

And now some good news: The ozone hole is shrinking

Ozone is a colorless gas present in the upper atmosphere which absorbs UV radiation from the sun. Reduced atmospheric ozone leads to sunburn, eye damage and skin cancer. Without any ozone at all there would be no life on earth. CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) gases typically used in refrigerators destroy ozone molecules. In 1989, all UN members ratified the Montreal Protocol , agreeing to phase out the production of ozone depleting gases.

NASA Ozone Watch tracks the size of the ozone hole over the Antarctic and the Arctic. The Antarctic ozone hole reaches its peak size in September/October. The chart shows the mean size of the hole during this period, in millions of square km.

The global mean temperature in 2019 was 1°C higher than the average of 1951-1980.

The NASA GISTEMPv4 dataset shows that the earth is now about 1° hotter than the period 1951-1980. According to NASA, 2019 was the second hottest year since measurements began in 1880. As the chart indicates, the hottest year recorded is 2016.

The HadCRUT4 dataset from Climatic Research Unit, Univ of East Anglia and Hadley Centre (UK Met Office) shows the same trend. Note that the HadCRUT dataset refers to the average of 1961-1990, so it is slightly offset compared to the NASA dataset. This chart is updated monthly.

The UAH datset from NSSTC, University of Alabama uses 1981-2010 as the reference so it offset from the other datasets, but is shows a similar increase in global temperatures.

Arctic temperatures increasing dramatically: +5° since 1900

Data from The Norwegian Meteorological Institute and The Norwegian Centre for Climate Services indicate that temperatures in the Arctic, as measured at Svalbard Airport (78.24 degrees North), are now at least 5°C higher than 50-100 years ago. The increased temperature in the Arctic leads to thawing of the permafrost, which in turn releases CO2 and methane currently trapped in the permafrost.

The report Climate in Svalbard 2100 by NCCS is an excellent overview of future climate impact in the Arctic.

Forest fire activity in the Amazon: 2019 and 2020 below average. 2007 remains record year

Updated September 14, 2020

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) monitors forest fire activity in Latin America daily using satellites. This chart shows monthly fire activity for each year since 1998. The highest activity was recorded in 2007, with 2004 and 2010 also showing high fire activity.

The data is a measure of fire activity, and not the number of fires per month. When a satellite image indicates an area with fire activity, there might actually be more than one fire within that image pixel. Also, a single forest fire may span several pixels.

This chart is updated daily.

Sea levels have increased 250mm since 1880, current rate of increase: 50mm per decade

Global mean sea levels have increased by over 200mm since the late 1800's. Data from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is updated continously and show a statistically significant acceleration since measurements started.

The dataset covering 1880-2009 is based on measurements from a large number of stations (38 stations in 1900, 235 stations in the 1980s). The dataset from 1993 and onwards uses satellite technology. Units in mm (millimeters). Chart is updated monthly.

Carbon Capture and Storage: CCS creates more CO2 than it captures

According to Global CCS Institute there are 19 large-scale CCS projects in operation at end-of-2019, capturing 38 million tons CO2 annually (less than 0.1% of global CO2 emissions).

Most of the captured CO2 (30 million tons) is used for EOR - Enhanced Oil Recovery: Injection of CO2 into oil wells in order to extract more oil. IEA estimates that this accounts for an extra 500.000 barrels of oil per day, which equals 78 million tons CO2 emissions per year.

The chart lists all CCS projects as of 2019. Those in red color use captured CO2 for EOR.

Electricity generation: Natural gas is 100 times more deadly than renewables. Coal? 1000 times more deadly

University of Oxford's Our World in Data has looked at the number of deaths per TWh (terawatt-hour) of electricity generated from different sources. Data includes accidents and longer term effects due to pollution and radiation, but not results of CO2 emissions and global warming.

Coal is the deadliest power-generator with more than 32 deaths per TWh, mainly due to air pollution. This is 1000 times as many deaths as wind, hydro and solar. For the same amount of energy generated, even natural gas causes about 100 times as many deaths as renewable sources.

Nuclear power has a relatively low mortality rate, even when the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents are included. Our World in Data uses the IAEA/WHO estimate for Chernobyl-related deaths, 4000. This chart uses a higher estimate, 45.000, based on the TORCH report


This website visualizes publicly available data from reliable sources on the state of the earth.

Håkon Dahle, Oslo, Norway, 2020