Author: Aran Ali

Visualizing the Forest Funding Gap Relative to Emissions


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by The LEAF Coalition

The Briefing

  • Deforestation accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions
  • Deforestation receives just 2.2% of climate funding

The Forest Funding Gap

Climate change has been referred to as modern day civilization’s greatest challenge. And stopping deforestation is an important step in the battle to stop rising global temperatures. Yet, when you look at the amount of climate funding earmarked for deforestation, something doesn’t add up.

This graphic from The LEAF Coalition looks at the state of global deforestation and compares how much climate funding it receives relative to its global CO2 emissions.

Deforestation’s Role in Global Emissions

Protecting our forests and protecting the climate are one in the same. In fact, the data reveals that tropical deforestation accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions.

What’s more, these levels of emissions exceed that of all individual countries except for the U.S. and China. Despite this, climate funding towards deforestation only accounts for $14 billion of the over $618 billion available, representing a small 2.2% slice of the total.

This is especially problematic when considering a forest’s carbon stock and carbon sequestration capabilities. Here’s how different forests across the globe compare when looking at gigatonnes of carbon stock.

EcosystemEstimated Carbon Stock (Gt)Annual Loss Rate
Tropical moist forests295 Gt0.45%
Boreal forests283 Gt0.18%
Temperate broadleaf forests133 Gt0.35%
Temperate conifer forests66 Gt0.28%
Tropical dry forests14 Gt0.58%
Mangroves7.3Gt0.13%

A carbon stock (Read more...)

Should You Invest in Disruptive Materials?


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Global X ETFs
graphic showing the forecasted surge in demand as a result of emerging climate and clean energy technologies.

Should You Invest in Disruptive Materials?

New technologies are having a transformative impact on the transportation and energy sectors. As these technologies develop, it is becoming clear that a small selection of materials, metals, and minerals—known collectively as disruptive materials—are critical components required to innovate.

This graphic from Global X ETFs takes a closer look at the disruptive materials that are key to fueling climate technologies. With a growing global effort to decarbonize, disruptive materials may enter a demand supercycle, characterized as a structural decades-long period of rising demand and rising prices.

Building Blocks Of the Future

There are 10 categories of disruptive materials in particular that are expected to see demand growth as part of their role within emerging technologies.

Disruptive MaterialApplicability
ZincProtects metal surfaces from rusting through a process called galvanization. This is essential to wind energy.
Palladium & PlatinumOften used in catalytic converters, thus playing a major role in hydrogen fuel cell technology.
NickelA corrosion-resistant metal used to make other metals more durable.
ManganeseAn important mineral needed for battery and steel production.
LithiumThe foundational component of lithium-ion batteries.
GrapheneThe thinnest known material which is also 100x stronger than steel. Used in sensors and transistors.
Rare Earth MaterialsA broader category including 15 lanthanide series elements, plus yttrium. These metals are found in (Read more...)

Ranked: Latin American Countries By Green Energy Use


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


This graphic shows how much electricity production Latin American countries derive from green energy relative to fossil fuels

Ranked: Latin American Countries By Green Energy Use

The global push for increasing green energy use is well underway, as countries around the world are feeling pressure to revamp their climate-impacting practices.

But with different populations, energy use requirements, and access to natural resources, certain regions will have a more significant role to play. With a population of 664 million and an abundance of natural resources, Latin America (LatAm) is one such region.

How green is LatAm’s energy today? This graphic from Latinometrics charts countries’ electricity production from renewables relative to fossil fuels and highlights the significant disparities between certain nations.

Green Energy Use in Latin America

As of 2020, many LatAm countries actually produced 50% or more of their electricity from renewable sources including nuclear energy. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the outliers:

Paraguay

Hydropower is Paraguay’s primary renewable energy source, and plentiful. In fact, the country produces surplus electricity and exports the remainder to Argentina and Brazil. Altogether, 60% of Paraguay’s hydroelectric power is exported, contributing to 6% of its GDP.

The primary resource for this hydropower—the Itaipú Dam—sits between Paraguay and Brazil and is jointly owned by both. The dam is responsible for 79% of Paraguay’s total power capacity.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been running on at least 98% renewable energy since 2014. Both within the Americas and on a global scale, the country’s green energy usage ranks extremely high, primarily driven by hydropower:

Costa Rica's Renewable Energy Sources% of (Read more...)

Mapped: The Wealthiest Billionaire in Each U.S. State in 2022


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


View a higher resolution version of this map.

Graphic that shows the richest U.S. billionaire by each state in 2022

Mapped: The Wealthiest Billionaire in Each U.S. State in 2022

The U.S. is home to over a quarter of the world’s billionaires, representing about 720 of the roughly 2,700 that exist globally.

While the country has more billionaires than any other, the U.S. share of global billionaires has actually been shrinking in recent decades. In 2010, about 40% of the world’s billionaire population lived in America⁠—and today, that number is closer to 27%.

But who is the richest billionaire in every American state in 2022? This graphic uses data from Forbes to find out.

The Richest of the Rich

The billionaires on this list have made their fortune in a wide range of industries, including tech, automobiles, asset management, and video games.

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have had their relative fortunes fluctuate in tandem with Amazon and Tesla stock prices in recent years. The volatility in share prices has meant they’ve each carried the title of the world’s wealthiest person at varying points.

RankNameNet Worth
($B)
Residence (State)
#1Elon Musk272.0Texas
#2Jeff Bezos167.6Washington
#3Larry Ellison109.5Hawaii
#4Warren Buffett105.2Nebraska
#5Larry Page103.8California
#6Michael Bloomberg76.8New York
#7Jim Walton62.7Arkansas
#8Charles Koch57.9Kansas
#9Phil Knight & Family44.8Oregon
#10Jacqueline Mars33.4Virginia
#11John Mars33.4Wyoming
#12Miriam Adelson28.5Nevada
#13Ken Griffin27.3Illinois
#14Ray Dalio (Read more...)

Visualizing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by National Public Utilities Council.


Visualizing U.S. Emissions by Sector

Decarbonization efforts in the U.S. are ramping up, and in 2020, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were lower than at any point during the previous 30 years.

However there’s still work to be done before various organizations, states, and nationwide targets are met. And when looking at GHG emissions by sector, the data suggests that some groups have more work cut out for them than others.

This graphic from the National Public Utilities Council provides the key data and trends on the total emissions by U.S. sector since 1990 .

The Highest Emitting Sectors

Collectively, the U.S. emitted 5,981 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2020, which rose 6.1% in 2021.

Here’s how the various sectors in the U.S. compare.

Sector2020 GHG emissions, MMT CO2ePercentage of Total
Transportation1,627.627%
Electricity generation1,482.625%
Industry1,426.224%
Agriculture635.111%
Commercial425.37%
Residential362.06%
U.S. territories23.0<1%

The transportation sector ranks highest by emissions and has been notably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still affecting travel and supply chains. This has led to whipsawing figures during the last two years.

For instance, in 2020, the transportation sector’s emissions fell 15%, the steepest fall of any sector. But the largest increase in emissions in 2021 also came from transportation, which is largely credited to the economic and tourism recovery last year.

Following transportation, electricity generation accounted for a quarter of U.S. GHG emissions in 2020, with fossil fuel combustion making up nearly 99% of the sector’s emissions. The other 1% includes waste incineration and other power generation technologies like renewables and nuclear power, which produce emissions during the initial stages of raw material extraction and construction.

Decarbonizing the Power Sector

The Biden Administration has set a goal to make the U.S. power grid run on 100% clean energy by 2035—a key factor in achieving the country’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Industrial factories, commercial buildings, and homes all consume electricity to power their machinery and appliances. Therefore, the power sector can help reduce their carbon footprint by supplying more clean electricity, although this largely depends on the availability of infrastructure for transmission.

Here’s how sectors would look if their respective electricity end-use is taken into account

SectorEmissions by Sector % of Total
Agriculture11%
Transportation27%
Industry30%
Residential & Commercial30%

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to independent rounding

With these adjustments, the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors experience a notable jump, and lead ahead of other categories

Today, the bulk of electricity generation, 60%, comes from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, with nuclear, renewables, and other sources making up 40% of the total.

Energy Source2020 Electric generation, billion kWhShare of total
Natural Gas1,57538.3%
Coal89921.8%
Nuclear77818.9%
Wind3809.2%
Hydropower2606.3%

However, progress and notable strides have been made towards sustainable energy. In 2021, renewables accounted for one-fifth of U.S. electricity generation, roughly doubling their share since 2010.

Coal’s share as a source of electric power has dropped dramatically in recent years. And partially as a result, electricity generation has seen its portion of emissions successfully decrease by 21% , with overall emissions falling from 1,880 million metric tons of CO2 to 1,482 million metric tons.

How Utilities Can Lead the Way

Should these trends persist, the electricity generation sector has a chance to play a pivotal role in the broader decarbonization initiative. And with the bulk of electricity generation in the U.S. coming from investor-owned utilities (IOUs), this is a unique opportunity for IOUs to lead the transition toward cleaner energy.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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Visualizing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by National Public Utilities Council.


Visualizing U.S. Emissions by Sector

Decarbonization efforts in the U.S. are ramping up, and in 2020, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were lower than at any point during the previous 30 years.

However there’s still work to be done before various organizations, states, and nationwide targets are met. And when looking at GHG emissions by sector, the data suggests that some groups have more work cut out for them than others.

This graphic from the National Public Utilities Council provides the key data and trends on the total emissions by U.S. sector since 1990 .

The Highest Emitting Sectors

Collectively, the U.S. emitted 5,981 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2020, which rose 6.1% in 2021.

Here’s how the various sectors in the U.S. compare.

Sector2020 GHG emissions, MMT CO2ePercentage of Total
Transportation1,627.627%
Electricity generation1,482.625%
Industry1,426.224%
Agriculture635.111%
Commercial425.37%
Residential362.06%
U.S. territories23.0<1%

The transportation sector ranks highest by emissions and has been notably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still affecting travel and supply chains. This has led to whipsawing figures during the last two years.

For instance, in 2020, the transportation sector’s emissions fell 15%, the steepest fall of any sector. But the largest increase in emissions in 2021 also came from transportation, which is largely credited to the economic and tourism recovery last year.

Following transportation, electricity generation accounted for a quarter of U.S. GHG emissions in 2020, with fossil fuel combustion making up nearly 99% of the sector’s emissions. The other 1% includes waste incineration and other power generation technologies like renewables and nuclear power, which produce emissions during the initial stages of raw material extraction and construction.

Decarbonizing the Power Sector

The Biden Administration has set a goal to make the U.S. power grid run on 100% clean energy by 2035—a key factor in achieving the country’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Industrial factories, commercial buildings, and homes all consume electricity to power their machinery and appliances. Therefore, the power sector can help reduce their carbon footprint by supplying more clean electricity, although this largely depends on the availability of infrastructure for transmission.

Here’s how sectors would look if their respective electricity end-use is taken into account

SectorEmissions by Sector % of Total
Agriculture11%
Transportation27%
Industry30%
Residential & Commercial30%

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to independent rounding

With these adjustments, the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors experience a notable jump, and lead ahead of other categories

Today, the bulk of electricity generation, 60%, comes from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, with nuclear, renewables, and other sources making up 40% of the total.

Energy Source2020 Electric generation, billion kWhShare of total
Natural Gas1,57538.3%
Coal89921.8%
Nuclear77818.9%
Wind3809.2%
Hydropower2606.3%

However, progress and notable strides have been made towards sustainable energy. In 2021, renewables accounted for one-fifth of U.S. electricity generation, roughly doubling their share since 2010.

Coal’s share as a source of electric power has dropped dramatically in recent years. And partially as a result, electricity generation has seen its portion of emissions successfully decrease by 21% , with overall emissions falling from 1,880 million metric tons of CO2 to 1,482 million metric tons.

How Utilities Can Lead the Way

Should these trends persist, the electricity generation sector has a chance to play a pivotal role in the broader decarbonization initiative. And with the bulk of electricity generation in the U.S. coming from investor-owned utilities (IOUs), this is a unique opportunity for IOUs to lead the transition toward cleaner energy.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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Visualizing the Negative Impact of the Shaving Industry


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Henson Shaving
Graphic that breaks down the negative impact of the mainstream shaving industry

Visualizing the Negative Impact of the Shaving Industry

The art of shaving has a history rich with transformation that dates back to ancient civilizations. That is until the 20th century when mainstream plastic cartridge razors began to flood the market.

This graphic from Henson Shaving shows how mainstream plastic cartridge razors conflict with expectations of the modern world by being huge contributors to pollution.

The data also suggests that consumers could significantly benefit from switching over to using a safety razor. Let’s dive in.

Rethinking Shaving

The shaving industry is dominated by several corporate entities that rake in billions of dollars every year. In fact, the majority of razors on the market today are optimized for profit rather than sustainability and affordability.

The industry was worth $17 billion in 2021 and is poised to grow by 17%, reaching $20 billion by 2030. Within this large market, the U.S. is a key player. The country imports over half a billion razors a year—more than any other country. Overall, U.S. shavers go through 2 billion razors a year, which is roughly 12 per consumer on average.

How much waste does this create?

As it turns out, quite a lot. The 2 billion razors discarded annually cover an area of 700 acres—assuming the average disposable cartridge razor (without a handle) has a dimension of (Read more...)

AWS: Powering the Internet and Amazon’s Profits


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


This graphic shows the surge in AWS profits which now represent 74% of Amazon's total profits

The Briefing

  • Cloud computing has become a hugely important element of Amazon’s business
  • In 2021, AWS accounted for 13% of Amazon’s revenue, but clocks in nearly three-quarters of their operating profit

AWS: Powering the Internet and Amazon’s Profits

The Amazon growth story has been a remarkable one so far.

On the top line, the company has grown every single year since its inception. Even in going back to 2004, Amazon generated a much more modest $6.9 billion in revenue compared to the massive $469 billion for 2021.

Most of these sales come from their retail and ecommerce operations, which the company has come to be known for. However, on the bottom line, the source of profit paints a completely different picture. That’s because 74% of Amazon’s operating profit comes from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Here’s a closer look at the financials around Amazon and AWS:

YearAWS Operating Profit ($B)Total Operating Profit ($B)AWS % of Operating ProfitRevenue ($B)
2021$18.5$24.874%$469.8
2020$13.5$22.959%$386.1
2019$9.2$14.563%$280.5
2018$7.2$12.458%$232.8

Ultimately, the data suggests that the cloud business has been, and possibly will always remain, a higher margin business and consistent profit center in comparison to ecommerce and the physical distribution of goods.

A Glance at AWS

AWS is Amazon’s cloud computing service that provides the critical infrastructure for an assortment of applications like data storage and networking. With this, they help fuel over a million organizations including (Read more...)

Visualizing Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


amazon rising shipping costs

The Briefing

  • Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment costs have soared to over $150 billion
  • Global supply chain constraints have accelerated these costs, which are now 40x their 2009 levels

Visualizing Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs

Most investors would agree that Amazon has been a winner during the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, in two short years from 2019 to 2021, sales soared to $469 billion from $280 billion and their market cap surged towards a $1.7 trillion valuation.

But even the best of companies have had to navigate choppy waters and uncertainty during this time. For Amazon, this has come in the form of cost pressures in their shipping and fulfillment department, which are now representing an increasingly large share of revenues.

Just how large are Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment costs becoming?

In 2021, shipping and fulfillment costs added up to $151.8 billion. Shipping, which includes sortation, delivery centers, and transportation costs amounted to $76.7 billion. Fulfillment costs, which include cost of operating and staff fulfillment centers, were $75.1 billion.

As a result of these trends, Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment expenses now represent 32% of their revenues:

YearCost as a % of revenue
202132%
202031%
201928%
201827%
201726%
201625%
201523%
201422%
201320%
201219%
201118%

As you can see, costs are escalating, and today’s figure is almost twice that of the 18% figure seen in 2011.

Amazon Web Services to the Rescue

While these expenses are rising, it’s important to remember (Read more...)

Ranked: The Life Expectancy of Humans and 49 Other Animals


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


life expectancy of humans compared to animals

Ranked: The Life Expectancy of Humans and 49 Other Animals

For most of history, average life expectancy at birth for humans has stood around 30 years. But thanks to recent breakthroughs in technology and modern medicine, humans are now born with an average life expectancy closer to 80 years.

Some might argue this is one of mankind’s greatest achievements. With this rise in life expectancy, how do human lifespans now rank compared to other animals?

This graphic from Alan’s Factory Outlet covers the life expectancy of 50 different animals ranging from amphibians to arthropods, and even includes one species that’s immortal (well, in theory).

Let’s take a closer look at lifespans in the animal kingdom.

The Longest Living Things

Here are some of the longest living animals, where even with advancements in modern medicine, humans are likely far off from matching.

The Deep-Sea Tube Worm

The deep-sea tube worm, also known as Riftia pachyptila, lives until about 250 years old, though in some cases this can stretch much further.

Amazingly, they have no digestive system, mouth, or anus, and thus do not consume food to survive in a traditional sense. Instead, the bacteria living inside their bodies helps to transform the sulfur from nearby hydrothermal vents into energy.

This makes the deep-sea tube worm one of the few animals on Earth that does not derive its nutrients (either directly or indirectly) from sunlight.

The Immortal Jellyfish

The immortal jellyfish, otherwise known as Turritopsis dohrnii, (Read more...)