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

China’s Greenhouse Gas Surge: A Climate Challenge

China’s Greenhouse Gas Surge: A Climate Challenge

Addressing the global challenge of greenhouse gas emissions is imperative, with gases like CO2, CH4, and N2O significantly impacting our environment. These gas trap heat, contributing to global warming and climate change, with consequences extending to poor air quality, health issues, and disruptions in temperature and precipitation patterns.

Why address the issue in China specifically?

The focus on China is crucial as it plays a pivotal role in this challenge, contributing 27% of global CO2 emissions and one-third of the world’s greenhouse gases. These compelling statistics, sourced from a recent World Bank report, emphasize the urgency of recognizing and addressing China’s role. Crafting effective global strategies for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions requires a nuanced understanding of China’s significant impact on this critical issue.



The below line chart illustrates China’s greenhouse gas emissions in kilotons of CO2 equivalent from 2005 to 2020. The graph depicts a consistent upward trend, starting at nearly 7.3 million kt in 2005 and reaching 13 million kt in 2020


The following map offers a comparative analysis of greenhouse gas emissions between China and other nations in 2020. The stark contrast is evident, with China recording almost 13 million kt, while Russia stands at 2.3 million kt, Brazil at 1.6 million kt, the USA at 5.5 million kt, and Canada at 6.7 million kt. These figures underscore the alarming magnitude of the issue emanating from China.

Contributing Factors to China’s Environmental Impact:

1) China as Global Manufacturer: As the world’s largest manufacturer, China’s robust industry and escalating energy demand significantly contribute to emissions. Fossil fuel combustion for energy production and manufacturing processes plays a central role in the nation’s substantial carbon footprint.

2) Agricultural Impact: Methane emissions from livestock and rice paddies contribute significantly to the intricate landscape of greenhouse gas sources.

3) Urbanization and Infrastructure Development: The construction and operation of buildings, roads, and transportation systems play a role in the environmental challenge.

4) Consumption Patterns: China’s growing middle class and consumer culture contribute to increased demand for goods, impacting production-related emissions.
The lifestyle choices and consumption patterns of the population contribute to the overall carbon footprint.

Comprehensive Solutions for a Sustainable Future:

1) Renewable Energy Transition: Transitioning to renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, is crucial for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating emissions.

2) Energy Efficiency Measures: Implementing energy-efficient technologies across industries minimizes emissions in transportation, manufacturing, and construction.

3) Circular Economy Practices: Encouraging a circular economy reduces waste and promotes the reuse and recycling of materials, fostering sustainability.

4) Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Investing in CCS technologies captures and stores carbon emissions from industries, playing a key role in emission reduction.

5) Global Collaboration: Collaborating globally on research and technology sharing strengthens efforts to combat climate change effectively.

Final Thoughts:

The urgency to address this challenge is not just a national responsibility but a global imperative. By adopting sustainable practices, embracing clean technologies, and fostering international collaboration, we can collectively steer the trajectory towards a more environmentally resilient future.

Are we Sufficiently using Clean Energy? Global Warming is still on the Rise!

Are we Sufficiently using Clean Energy? Global Warming is still on the Rise!

Year after Year, temperatures rise across the world with an increase in the overall emissions of CO2 and other gases correlated with global warming. Sea levels are at risk of rising, climate change is on the rise, increased risks of droughts and floods and threats to biodiversity. All this as a consequence of global warming and finally putting people’s lives at risk and the survival of the world. Although we have a solution available, we are not efficiently relying on it neither optimizing its use. SDG 7 requires a world responsibility towards providing accessible and clean energy sources, one of our key responsibilities is to ensure that we reach this goal adequately by the year 2030.

“Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is 50% more than the 1900s.” 

“Temperatures increasing yearly, and summers getting hotter.” 

These are words repeated by people over and over, but are we reacting?

The following shows the rise in temperatures.

Global Warming:

The root problem!

Global warming was identified as a global issue during the 1980s, during the year 1988 world hottest summers were recorded. Since then, hotter summers have been recorded, increasing temperatures are still being recorded along continuous increase in CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy was first explored in 1927 through wind turbines, although such resources are available, they are still not used adequately to encounter the rising temperatures issue. Renewable energy resources are available, but their usage is not improving.

Renewable Energy:

Are we sufficiently using them?
  • World resources institute states that renewable energy resources emit 50g or less of CO2 emissions per KWh over their lifetime, compared to about 1000g CO2/KWh for coal and 475g CO2/KWh for natural gas.

Renewable and clean energy resources such as solar power, wind power, hydro power or nuclear power are highly available and further resources could be developed. Current resources are not efficiently used along with no clear plans or transition to more clean energy resources. On the other hand, not all countries or people have appropriate access to clean energy resource neither the resources or accommodations required to develop them.

The infrastructure and development of renewable energy is highly costly, but costs for using such energy on the long-term are cheaper, current fossil fuel prices are set to be cheaper as the pollution consequences and carbon-fee are not interpreted into the pricing strategy of gases and fossil fuels. Governments and Organizations are avoiding the transition due to its high costs but at the cost of polluting and putting high risks on our environment our health and survival of earth.


A clear rise in CO2 emissions accompanied by a decrease of renewable energy consumption is shown and identified by world development indicators.

Actions Required:

  • Optimizing usage of currently available clean energy resources and services.
  • Increase the availability of clean energy sources and reliance on them across different sectors and industries.
  • Raise Awareness on the problem “that we have the resources and capabilities needed to reduce global warming” but we are not efficiently using them.
  • Raise Awareness about the risks and effects of global warming along with the quick rate it is happening at.

Governments and World organizations planning strategies to increase the use of renewable enerygy and conducting awareness campaigns to influence the public and future image.

If we don’t protect our environment and nature, we can’t protect ourselves. Floods, drought, higher rates of contamination, increased health risks and the slow death of our planet are the cost of using cheaper resources.


Polluted Skies and Sources Drying Up: The Levant Region and Air Pollution

Polluted Skies and Sources Drying Up: The Levant Region and Air Pollution

Our planet’s sustainability is being adversely affected by environmental pollution. Pollution is the result of hundreds of years of accumulated human activities. As humans evolved, so did their actions, wants and needs. This led to the evolution of industries, equipment, and tools to meet those needs. Industrialization, transportation, illegal fishing, among other activities are some of the main causes of pollution.
With the rise of global concern about the severity of pollution on Earth, first-world countries started implementing some regulations to control pollution. Furthermore, the UN has multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim at reducing pollution globally. Third-world countries don’t have this luxury as they face multiple obstacles to limit and fight pollution: low-income levels, high improvement costs related to providing better alternatives, political factors, and others. The levant region is a great example of an area blessed with different resources but ranks high in terms of pollution when compared to first-world countries. All the countries in this region have access to at least one of different energy resources (water, agricultural land, oil, etc.). On the other hand, they have gone through or still going through wars/foreign occupation, had economic collapses and have corruption in their governments. These factors have forced these countries to focus on providing for the needs of their populations regardless of the consequences on the environment.

The Levant at a Glance:

The map below shows how over a 10-year period (2005-2015), the annual exposure to air pollution has increased in these five countries. When globally countries are moving towards alternatives, the region is still being exposed to air pollution at an increasing rate. According to the World Bank, “Air pollution levels in MENA’s largest cities are among the highest in the world, with the average urban resident breathing in air that exceeds by more than 10 times the level of pollutants considered safe by the WHO”

Furthermore, we can see below that the average renewable energy consumption in these countries is between 1% to 17% of total energy consumption, whereas the global average is around 30% with the first-world countries going over the 40% mark.

Using clean, renewable sources of energy drastically improves the quality of air. The Levant has an abundance of renewable energy sources that they are failing to utilize due to multiple reasons. Liquid fuel consumption has been on the rise and the CO2 emissions have been on an increasing trend since the 1960s, and if drastic action is taken immediately, the living conditions in these countries will worsen further and impact the health of the population.

What Should We Do?

Actions are needed to prevent further degradation of the quality of air we breathe. Governments should start by enforcing taxes on companies with direct air pollution impact and emission standards should be enforced more strictly. This would provide a control on pollutants and also provide the government with a source of income to reinvest in the country. There also needs to be alternatives to usual transportation options and prioritize cleaner alternatives. Promoting the use of electric/hybrid vehicles, scooters and bicycles over common fuel vehicles would also help clean the air. Finally, countries should utilize their respective available resources to produce clean energy, be it with solar, air or hydropower to create renewable energy without the reliance on fuel and gas which are becoming scarce, expensive, and are still polluting.


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