Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Spotlight on Climate Change

Spotlight on Climate Change

Climate change is a pressing global problem with alarming evidence. Rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and extreme weather events are just a few examples of its impacts.” The primary environmental problem associated with CO2 emissions is their contribution to climate change and global warming.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that plays a crucial role in maintaining habitable temperatures on Earth through the greenhouse effect. However, excessive levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have disrupted this balance, resulting in a range of environmental issues. These include global warming, climate change, ocean acidification, ecosystem disruptions, and impacts on human health.

Problem Evidence:
As we can see in this map, climate change has been linked to an increase in mortality rates across the globe. Rising temperatures and heatwaves pose a significant threat, particularly to vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Urban populations are profoundly affected by the impacts of climate change. As cities continue to grow, they face unique challenges related to rising temperatures, increased air pollution, and vulnerability to extreme weather events. Heat islands, where urban areas experience significantly higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas, can amplify the health risks for urban residents

Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes, are releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. As seen through this pie, China and the United States are among the biggest countries with CO2 emissions for the year 2021.

In regard to the highest countries that emits CO2 per capita, we can see through this visualization that Qatar is at the peak due its unique combinations of factors. The extraction, production, and export of natural gas involve energy-intensive processes that result in significant CO2 emissions. Additionally, Qatar’s hot climate with its small population necessitates high energy consumption for cooling and desalination purposes with higher per capita emission figure.

One of the most dangerous threats for the climate change is the PM2.5. Given that it is more harmful to human health in the short-term, it is measured in units of micrograms per cubic meter of air. PM2.5 is harmful in the short-term, leading to adverse consequences in vulnerable groups such as children and older adults. The above bars display mean annual exposure levels to PM2.5 across the world in 2017. Exposure is more severe in South Asia and some parts of Africa, especially the Middle East.

Depletion of natural resources refers to their excessive extraction, usage, and destruction. The depletion of natural resources becomes a major issue when human activities intensify and resource demand rises. At alarming rates, forests are being removed, which causes habitat loss, a decline in biodiversity, and soil erosion. Adopting sustainable behaviors, fostering resource efficiency, putting conservation measures in place, and switching to renewable energy sources are all necessary to address the depletion of natural resources. In order to protect the environment for future generations, it is essential to ensure the equitable and responsible management of resources.

The use of electricity is another problem we have with our mother earth. This image allows us to examine the expansion that took place over a 20-year period. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are released throughout the energy generation process, especially when it uses fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. These emissions have an impact on climate change and global warming. Furthermore, the effects of such a crucial component of our everyday lives include waste production, habitat loss, air pollution, water consumption, and habitat loss.

Potential Solution:
On the plus side, increasing the production of power from renewable sources like solar, wind, and hydro can lessen the environmental harm and greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuel-based generating.

Solution Details:
We must cut back on CO2 emissions in order to address the serious climate problem. While many nations have made attempts to minimize them, it is crucial to address the problem thoroughly and keep working toward long-term solutions in order to lessen the effects of climate change and safeguard our ecosystem. Using electric vehicles and switching to clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power can greatly cut CO2 emissions. As seen through this chart, some countries started to cut off CO2 emissions whereas others need more time.

Recommendations :
To address climate change effectively, we need international cooperation, continued research and development of renewable energy technologies, and sustainable transportation systems. Every individual can contribute by making environmentally conscious choices in their daily lives. “Together, we can mitigate the impacts of climate change and create a sustainable future for generations to come. Let’s act now and make a difference.”

Achieve – Lebanon

Achieve – Lebanon

ACHIEVE – Lebanon: Leveraging Fixed Wireless Access in 5G to Boost Agriculture and Drive Economic Growth

Lebanon’s economic downturn witnessed since 2018 has been characterized by a sharp decline in GDP (Dashboard Chart: GDP Growth – Lebanon) that was boosted by the economic crisis in 2019 that impacted all sectors and has lead to a stagnation in all the employment sectors. On the other side, over the past years Lebanon has seen a notable shift in employment from agriculture and industry towards the services sector (Dashboard Chart: Employment per sector – Lebanon).

Fixed Wireless Access as a Solution
Fixed Wireless Access refers to a wireless communication technology that enables high-speed internet connectivity to fixed locations. In the context of Lebanon’s agricultural sector, FWA can be a game-changer. By harnessing the power of 5G networks, FWA provides a scalable and quick solution for delivering reliable broadband connectivity to remote agricultural areas.

As it is visible in the dashboard below, Fixed Wireless Access subscriptions are expected to increase on a global scale mainly under 5G, and with the increase of Mobile subscriptions (visualized over Middle East and Africa Region) we can place Lebanon on the Map of Digital transformation becoming a main player in adopting latest technology use cases.
We can mention some of the Pros of Fixed Wireless Access that can be taken into consideration in ACHIEVE initiative in Lebanon, mainly due to the need of a low cost, quick and scalable solution:

1. Broad Coverage: FWA allows for the expansion of internet connectivity to areas where it may be challenging or cost-prohibitive to lay traditional wired infrastructure. It is particularly beneficial in rural or remote regions, bridging the digital divide and connecting underserved communities.
2. Quick Deployment: Compared to deploying physical cables, FWA can be implemented relatively quickly. It requires less time for planning, permitting, and physical installation, making it an efficient solution for rapidly providing internet connectivity to areas with urgent needs.
3. Cost-Effective: FWA can be a cost-effective solution, especially in areas where wired infrastructure installation is expensive or logistically challenging. It eliminates the need for costly underground cables, reducing upfront expenses and overall deployment costs.

Enhancing Agricultural Productivity
By implementing FWA in rural areas, Farmers can access real-time data, weather forecasts, market information, and precision farming techniques, enabling them to make informed decisions. This increased access to information and resources empowers farmers to optimize their operations, reduce waste, and improve yields.

As FWA enables remote agricultural areas to connect to the digital economy, it opens up new employment opportunities. Additionally, the adoption of digital technologies in agriculture, such as smart irrigation systems, automated monitoring, and data analysis, will drive demand for specialized skills. This, in turn, generates employment opportunities for the local workforce, reducing unemployment rates and contributing positively to the economy.

By improving agricultural productivity and creating employment opportunities, the sector becomes a key contributor to economic growth. As agricultural output increases, it fuels the supply chain, stimulates local markets, and boosts export potential. The multiplier effect of a thriving agricultural sector has the potential to revitalize the overall economy, leading to increased GDP and a path towards sustainable development.


GCC Global Ambitions

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council ‘GCC’, is a regional, intergovernmental, political, and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Led by the efforts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, traditional energy countries of the GCC are embracing renewables faster than ever before.

The root causes behind such transformation go to the higher consumption of electricity per capita in the GCC (compared to other regions in the world), an increase in GHG emissions due to the increase of CO2 emissions (around 40% of energy-related CO2 are due to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation) hence increasing global warming, and forgone revenues from subsidizing 40% of the electricity generation cost that cannot be ignored.

The story will detail the strategy followed by EU countries that increase renewable installations and thus benefit from covering their domestic consumption of energy. Such viability of this strategy was the reduction in CO2 emissions by 8% in the last year.

Despite that WDIData indicators don’t give us an updated current installation of the renewables in the GCC but it is evident that each of the GCC countries expedited their strategies; for instance, Kuwait installed 70MW as a mix of Solar, Wind, and CSP. KSA and UAE contribute to the highest portion of Renewable installations: KSA installed 1 GW and 15GW under construction (Solar + Wind) while UAE installed 3.5GW (Solar) with 2 GW under construction.

Due to the implementation of Renewables, GCC countries will benefit from the following:

  1. Renewables are the most practical and readily available climate solution due to the reduction in CO2 and GHG emissions.
  2. Renewable energy is the most competitive form of power generation in the region due to the competitive prices breaking the world record by 1.7 cents per kWhr.
  3. Sustainable economies by producing more jobs and boosting healthier economies.
  4. Renewables save water: Water scarcity is an acute challenge in the region, with four of the six GCC countries ranking within the top 10 most water challenged on earth according to the World Resources Institute.   And with of the fastest-growing populations in the world, the region’s demand for water is expected to increase fivefold by 2050. IF the GCC countries were to realize their renewable energy targets, this would lead to an estimated overall reduction of 17% and 12% in water withdrawal and consumption, respectively, in the power sectors of the region. Renewables are currently part of any desalination project to bring down the SPC (specific power consumption) by 2.7kWhr/cubic meter due to the production of part of the power consumption through renewables.

Realizing the importance of implementing renewables, GCC governments set plans to increase renewables contribution to power production such as the Kuwait 2030 plant to generate 15% of the power needs through renewables, 2035 vision in KSA aims to generate 30% of the power demands through renewables.

Illuminating Africa: A Journey to Power

Illuminating Africa: A Journey to Power

In a world map coded in vibrant colors, a stark truth emerges—Africa remains shrouded in darkness, with the least access to electricity. This tale unfolds, revealing a problem that denies millions the fundamental right to light and power. Let us begin on a journey to shed light on this topic, investigate its complexities, and present alternative solutions for achieving transformational change. 581 million African do not have access to electricity.

When it comes to energy availability, Africa, a continent rich in resources and diversity, has a significant gap. Widespread power shortages and inadequate infrastructure plague its nations, leaving a significant portion of the population in the dark. This situation not only hampers progress and stifles economic growth but also deprives individuals of basic necessities and opportunities for a better life.

A glance at the bar chart depicting electricity access reveals a somber reality. Country after country in Africa lingers at the bottom of the chart, showcasing alarmingly low percentages. It paints a distressing picture of the challenges faced by the African people, hindering their ability to thrive and prosper.
Furthermore, the chart highlighting rural versus urban electricity access further accentuates the disparity. Rural areas suffer disproportionately, often lacking the necessary infrastructure required to bring power to remote communities. This divide deepens the social and economic gaps, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and limiting opportunities for advancement.

Recognizing the urgency of the problem, governments, international organizations, and corporate companies have joined together to find a solution. The objective is to use Africa’s rich renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, to its advantage.

A comprehensive approach entails investing in renewable energy infrastructure, implementing decentralized energy systems, and fostering partnerships. By tapping into renewable sources, Africa can establish a sustainable and resilient power grid. Solar panels can light up homes, wind turbines can generate electricity, and hydroelectric installations can power regions.
These activities are complemented by the creation of microgrids and minigrids that are customized to the specific needs of rural areas empowering local populations through training and education enables them to manage and maintain these systems independently. This bottom-up approach ensures the sustainability and longevity of the solution.
To overcome financial barriers, innovative financing mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships and green bonds, can be employed. Additionally, policy reforms and streamlined regulations can incentivize investments and facilitate the integration of renewable energy technologies into the existing grid infrastructure.

Pioneering projects across Africa have already demonstrated the immense potential of renewable energy. From the vast solar farms of Morocco to the innovative mini-grids in rural Kenya, success stories abound. Communities once enveloped in darkness now bask in the glow of reliable electricity, empowering residents and propelling local economies forward.
The positive impacts of electrification are far-reaching. Access to electricity enhances healthcare services, enabling the operation of medical equipment, refrigeration for vaccines and medicines, and improved lighting in hospitals and clinics. It also catalyzes educational opportunities by providing adequate lighting for schools, facilitating e-learning programs, and enabling students to study beyond daylight hours.

The path to deliver light and power to Africa is difficult, but not impossible. Governments, international organizations, and the corporate sector must maintain their commitment and partnership. Policy reforms, financial investments, and technology transfer should be prioritized to drive progress.
To accelerate change, global partnerships must be forged to support Africa’s electrification endeavors. Technical expertise, financial help, and capacity-building programs can be provided by developed countries and international organizations. We can collectively pave the way to a brighter future for Africa by sharing knowledge, resources, and expertise—a future in which every individual, regardless of geography, has access to the electricity.

As we conclude our journey, let us remember that by addressing Africa’s electricity access challenge, we unlock a world of possibilities. From improved healthcare and education to expanded economic opportunities, electricity empowers communities and illuminates the path toward progress. Together, let us work towards an Africa that shines brightly, embracing the promise of an electrified future. With concerted efforts, we can ensure that no one is left in the dark and that every corner of Africa thrives under the power of light.

A look into CGC energy usage: Qatar Case

A look into CGC energy usage: Qatar Case

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission status is a critical issue that has been around for many years. It is crucial for humans to reduce CO2 emissions as it is one of the most contributing factors for global warming.

As seen in the graph below, the CO2 total emissions has increased significantly throughout the years, which is entirely alarming and calls for us to take immediate actions now to stop this increase.
Indeed, there is a huge increase in CO2 emissions; however, the human population has also increased    a lot from 1990 until 2022, which means we should also check the CO2 emission per capita.
The below graph shows that the total CO2 emission per capita has decreased slightly from 1990 till 2019 in metric ton. This is due to the usage of more green energy overall.

Now, it is interesting for us to check what countries are contributing the most to this, in order for these issues to be tackled at country level.

The below bar chart shows the highest 10 countries in terms of CO2 emission per capita: the leading country for CO2 emission is Qatar, and the top 3 countries are Arab gulf countries. It is quit interesting to see why Qatar is leading this metric and why. It could be that Qatar has a bad energy management system and does not rely on clean energy.

It is well known that Qatar is one of the leading countries when it comes to producing oil and gas. Thus, it might be directly affected by that.

The Pie chart below shows that 40.96% of Qatar CO2 emission comes from gaseous activities, and 26.36% comes from electricity usage. This shows the 2 major contributors for this high CO2 emission per capita.

That presents an important question: what types of energy does Qatar use in order to provide electricity and services for its population?

Qatar depends 100% on gas, oil and coal to provide energy and electricity. This is a major finding because it means that providing alternative energy sources can tackle this problem and reduce the CO2 emission. The figures below show how much Qatar depends on oil and that Qatar uses 0% of clean energy sources.

What makes it more interesting is that we can see that the total energy consumption had increased in Qatar since the late 90s on a steady trend; below line shows the electric power consumption in Qatar through the years.

Now, it is also clear that even though the electric power consumption has increased a lot, it has dropped from its peak while still maintaining a higher value than the first record of 28.32 in 1990 with a value of 32.76 in 2019. This is mainly impacted by the growing population in Qatar as many people have traveled to Qatar in order to find better opportunities since the 90s. This is also clearly demonstrated in the population line visualization below.

In short, the problem of Qatar’s high CO2 emission is mainly attributed to the zero usage of clean energy for its different activities. For that, a couple of actions are recommended.

  • Using green energy for generating electricity
  • Introducing the solar system as an alternative
  • Implementing environmental regulations and policies to enforce emission standards and promote sustainable practices across industries
  • Investing in research and development in order to find suitable ways to reduce the emission for gaseous activities
  • Using of filters while producing gas and oil
  • Raising the population’s awareness of the importance of adapting sustainable lifestyles to reduce CO2 emissions
  • Abiding with carbon target zero ambitions in order to fight global warming
Is Lebanon a Sustainable Country?

Is Lebanon a Sustainable Country?

Meeting our current requirements without sacrificing the potential of future generations to satisfy their own needs is what is meant by sustainability. It entails striking a careful balance between social advancement, economic expansion, and environmental preservation. We can build a prosperous society that guarantees a good standard of living for its residents while maintaining our natural resources and safeguarding the environment by embracing sustainability.

Perfect Match

In Lebanon, sustainability is an urgent call to action rather than just a trendy concept. Numerous issues confront the Lebanese people, including socioeconomic inequality, resource depletion, environmental degradation, and climate change. To overcome these obstacles, we must reevaluate our tactics and policies, use cutting-edge techniques, and collaborate to create a more sustainable future.

AUB ranked among the most sustainable worldwide

But attaining sustainability requires collaboration. Government, corporations, civic society, and every person must work together to achieve this. It calls for the creation and use of efficient policies, the inclusion of sustainability principles in our decision-making procedures, and the active involvement of all stakeholders.

Lebanon is far from being a sustainable country, although some startups have proven to be leaders in sustainability. But this example has to be spread among all the Lebanese society, to make sustainability a habit and a lifestyle for all the Lebanese people.