Author: Bruno Venditti

One Year of Global Waste Visualized


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies


One Year of Global Waste Visualized

Waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, compared to 2.2 billion in 2019.

This is due to a number of factors, such as population growth, urbanization, and economic growth.

In this graphic by Northstar Clean Technologies, we show waste generation worldwide and discuss its impact and how it can be reduced.

The Growing Pile of Global Waste

The United States is the world’s most wasteful country, with each American producing a whopping 809 kg (1780 lbs) of waste every year.

Approximately half of the country’s yearly waste will meet its fate in one of the more than 2,000 active landfills across the nation. The country also has the largest landfill in the world, Apex, located in Clark County, Nevada.

The United States is followed by other industrialized countries like Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, and Switzerland based on average annual per capita municipal waste generation.

CountryAverage Annual per Capita Municipal Waste Generation (kg)
🇺🇸 United States809
🇩🇰 Denmark781
🇳🇿 New Zealand727
🇨🇦 Canada706
🇨🇭 Switzerland706
🇮🇸 Iceland656
🇮🇱 Israel644
🇩🇪 Germany633
🇮🇪 Ireland616
🇱🇺 Luxembourg607
🇦🇹 Austria570
🇦🇺 Australia560
🇫🇷 France514
🇳🇱 Netherlands513
🇫🇮 Finland510
🇬🇷 Greece504
🇮🇹 Italy489

Compared to those in developed nations, residents in developing countries are more severely (Read more...)

Uranium – The Fuel for Clean Energy


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Skyharbour Resources
Skyharbour-Uranium-the-Fuel-for-Clean-Energy

Uranium – The Fuel for Clean Energy

Global demand for electricity is set to grow around 50% by 2040.

As the only energy source of low-carbon, scalable, reliable, and affordable electricity, nuclear is set to play a prominent role in meeting this growing demand while satisfying decarbonization objectives globally.

In this infographic from Skyharbour Resources, we take a closer look at how uranium is shaping the future of energy.

Nuclear Power to Backstop Clean Energy Transition

Nuclear is considered an important source of clean energy, being the second largest source of low-carbon electricity in the world behind hydropower.

Nuclear power plants produce no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, and over the course of their life cycle, they produce about the same amount of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions per unit of electricity as wind, and one-third of the emissions per unit of electricity when compared with solar.

Nuclear fuel is extremely dense and generates minimal waste. All of the used nuclear fuel produced by the U.S. over the last 60 years could fit on a football field at a depth of fewer than 10 yards.

To power up reactors, uranium demand is expected to rise ∼160% over the next decades.

Several countries are going nuclear in a bid to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while building reliable energy grids. Not many, however, have uranium (Read more...)

Which Countries Produce the Most Natural Gas?


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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The Largest Producers of Natural Gas

Which Countries Produce the Most Natural Gas?

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Natural gas prices have risen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, exacerbating an already tight supply situation.

Making matters worse, Moscow has since cut gas exports to Europe to multi-year lows, sending Europe’s gas price to almost 10 times its pre-war average.

Using data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, the above infographic provides further context on the gas market by visualizing the world’s largest gas producers in 2021.

Natural Gas Consumption at All-Time High in 2021

Natural gas is part of nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It is used for heating, cooking, electricity generation, as fuel for motor vehicles, in fertilizers, and in the manufacture of plastics.

The fuel is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas and non-renewable fossil fuel that forms below the Earth’s surface. Although the Earth has enormous quantities of natural gas, much of it is in areas far from where the fuel is needed. To facilitate transport and reduce volume, natural gas is frequently converted into liquefied natural gas (LNG), in a process called liquefaction.

Despite global efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, natural gas consumption reached a new all-time high in 2021, surpassing the previous record set in 2019 by 3.3%.

Demand is expected (Read more...)

3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage


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The-Fertilizer-Shortage-and-Food-Crisis

3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Bad weather, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a shortage of fertilizer have led to fears of a global food crisis.

This infographic will help you understand the problem by highlighting three key factors behind the mounting food crisis.

#1: The Fertilizer Shortage

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the war has disrupted shipments of fertilizer, an essential source of nutrients for crops.

Russia is the world’s top exporter of nitrogen fertilizer and ranks second in phosphorus and potassium fertilizer exports. Belarus, a Russian ally also contending with Western sanctions, is another major fertilizer producer. In addition, both countries collectively account for over 40% of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Here are the top 20 fertilizer exporters globally:

RankCountryExports Value (Billions in USD)
#1🇷🇺 Russia$12.5
#2🇨🇳 China$10.9
#3🇨🇦 Canada$6.6
#4🇲🇦 Morocco$5.7
#5🇺🇸 United States$4.1
#6🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia$3.6
#7🇳🇱 Netherlands$2.9
#8🇧🇪 Belgium$2.6
#9🇴🇲 Oman$2.6
#10🇶🇦 Qatar$2.2
#11🇩🇪 Germany$1.5
#12🇮🇱I srael$1.5
#13🇪🇬 Egypt$1.5
#14🇱🇹 Lithuania$1.4
#15🇩🇿 Algeria$1.4
#16🇪🇸 Spain$1.3
#17🇯🇴 Jordan$1.3
#18🇵🇱 Poland$1.2
#19🇲🇾 Malaysia$1.0
#20🇳🇬 Nigeria$1.0

The main destination of fertilizer exports from (Read more...)

Animation: The World’s Biggest Wind Turbines


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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Animation: Visualizing the World's Biggest Wind Turbines

The World’s Biggest Wind Turbines

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Since the early 2000s, wind turbines have grown in size—in both height and blade lengths—to generate more energy per unit.

Today, the tallest turbines can reach over 200 meters (650 ft) in height and cost more than $12 million to manufacture and install.

The above infographic uses data compiled from company portfolios to showcase the biggest wind turbines currently being developed and to put these huge structures into perspective.

Blade Runners

The biggest turbines are all located over water. The so-called offshore turbines can be taller than those onshore, which means they can harness more wind energy and produce more electricity.

MingYang Smart Energy, a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer, is in the process of building the biggest wind turbine so far.

Their new MySE 16.0-242 model is still under construction and is expected to be online by 2026. It will be 264 meters tall, with a blade length 118 meters long and rotor diameter of 242 meters. It features a nameplate capacity of 16 megawatts that can power 20,000 homes per unit over a 25-year service life. The first commercial turbine will be installed at the MingYang Yangjiang Qingzhou Four offshore wind farm, which is in the South China Sea.

Here are four of the biggest wind (Read more...)

Mapped: Solar and Wind Power by Country


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How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

Mapped: Solar and Wind Power by Country

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Wind and solar generate over a tenth of the world’s electricity. Taken together, they are the fourth-largest source of electricity, behind coal, gas, and hydro.

This infographic based on data from Ember shows the rise of electricity from these two clean sources over the last decade.

Europe Leads in Wind and Solar

Wind and solar generated 10.3% of global electricity for the first time in 2021, rising from 9.3% in 2020, and doubling their share compared to 2015 when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed.

In fact, 50 countries (26%) generated over a tenth of their electricity from wind and solar in 2021, with seven countries hitting this landmark for the first time: China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Argentina, Hungary, and El Salvador.

Denmark and Uruguay achieved 52% and 47% respectively, leading the way in technology for high renewable grid integration.

RankTop CountriesSolar/Wind Power Share
#1?? Denmark51.9%
#2?? Uruguay46.7%
#3?? Luxembourg43.4%
#4?? Lithuania36.9%
#5?? Spain32.9%
#6?? Ireland32.9%
#7?? Portugal31.5%
#8?? Germany28.8%
#9?? Greece28.7%
#10?? United Kingdom25.2%

From a regional perspective, Europe leads with nine of the top 10 countries. On the flipside, the Middle East and Africa have the fewest countries reaching the 10% (Read more...)

How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?


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How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

At the COP26 conference last year, 40 nations agreed to phase coal out of their energy mixes.

Despite this, in 2021, coal-fired electricity generation reached all-time highs globally, showing that eliminating coal from the energy mix will not be a simple task.

This infographic shows the aggressive phase-out of coal power that would be required in order to reach net zero goals by 2050, based on an analysis by Ember that uses data provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Low-Cost Comes at a High Environmental Cost

Coal-powered electricity generation rose by 9.0% in 2021 to 10,042 Terawatt-hours (TWh), marking the biggest percentage rise since 1985.

The main reason is cost. Coal is the world’s most affordable energy fuel. Unfortunately, low-cost energy comes at a high cost for the environment, with coal being the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions.

China has the highest coal consumption, making up 54% of the world’s coal electricity generation. The country’s consumption jumped 12% between 2010 and 2020, despite coal making up a lower percentage of the country’s energy mix in relative terms.

Top Consumers2020 Consumption (Exajoules)Share of global consumption
China ??82.354.3%
India ??17.511.6%
United States ??9.26.1%
Japan ??4.63.0%
(Read more...)

Visualizing the Material Impact of Global Urbanization


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Material Impact Urbanization

Visualizing the Material Impact of Global Urbanization

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Cities only cover 2% of the world’s land surface, but activities within their boundaries consume over 75% of the planet’s material resources.

With the expansion of urban areas, the world’s material consumption is expected to grow from 41.1 billion tonnes in 2010 to about 89 billion tonnes by 2050.

In today’s graphic, we use data from the UN International Resource Panel to visualize the material impact of global urbanization.

How Material Consumption is Calculated

Today, more than 4.3 billion people or 55% of the world’s population live in urban settings, and the number is expected to rise to 80% by 2050.

Every year, the world produces an immense amount of materials in order to supply the continuous construction of human-built environments.

To calculate how much we use to build our cities, the UN uses the Domestic Material Consumption (DMC), a measure of all raw materials extracted from the domestic territory per year, plus all physical imports, minus all physical exports.

Generally, the material consumption is highly uneven across the different world regions. In terms of material footprint, the world’s wealthiest countries consume 10 times as much as the poorest and twice the global average.

Based on the total urban DMC, Eastern Asia leads the world (Read more...)

Who Are the Russian Oligarchs?


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


Who are the Russian Oligarchs?

Who are the Russian Oligarchs?

Russia’s richest individuals have lost more than $38 billion in 2022 because of Western sanctions on Russia in reprisal for the invasion of Ukraine.

Together, the top 10 Russian oligarchs have a net worth of $186 billion, equivalent to the market cap of large publicly-traded companies like McDonald’s and AMD.

But who are the Russian ultra-rich? In today’s graphic, we use data from Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index to show Russia’s richest individuals… and how much they’ve lost due to the war so far.

Metals, Art, Luxury, and Sports

The richest person in Russia, Vladimir Potanin, has a 35% stake in Moscow-listed Nornickel.

The company is the world’s biggest producer of palladium, a metal used in vehicle catalytic converters, and also the world’s largest producer of nickel, an essential metal for EV batteries and renewable energy.

RankNameNet worth USD$ YTD change*Bloomberg List
#1Vladimir Potanin$25.9B-$5.00B53
#2Leonid Mikhelson$22.6B-$9.87B66
#3Alexey Mordashov$22.5B-$6.32B67
#4Vladimir Lisin$21.6B-$6.44B69
#5Alisher Usmanov$19.0B-$2.25B89
#6Andrey Melnichenko$17.8B+$0.35B99
#7Viktor Vekselberg$16.7B-$1.79B107
#8Roman Abramovich$14.1B-$3.90B132
#9Mikhail Prokhorov$13.8B-$0.23B138
#10Suleiman Kerimov$11.8B-$3.37B177
Total$185.8B-$38.8B

*Based on Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as of March 24, 2022

Former First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and a close associate to President Vladimir Putin, Potanin is a major benefactor of the arts. He recently stepped (Read more...)

The 50 Minerals Critical to U.S. Security


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The 50 Minerals Critical to U.S. Security

The 50 Minerals Critical to U.S. Security

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

The U.S. aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 as part of its commitment to tackling climate change, but might be lacking the critical minerals needed to achieve its goals.

The American green economy will rely on renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, along with the electrification of transportation. However, local production of the raw materials necessary to produce these technologies, including solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, is lacking. Understandably, this has raised concerns in Washington.

In this graphic, based on data from the U.S. Geological Survey, we list all of the minerals that the government has deemed critical to both the economic and national security of the United States.

What are Critical Minerals?

A critical mineral is defined as a non-fuel material considered vital for the economic well-being of the world’s major and emerging economies, whose supply may be at risk. This can be due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, trade policy, or other factors.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a list of 35 critical minerals. The new list, released in February 2022, contains 15 more commodities.

Much of the increase in the new list is the result of splitting (Read more...)