Some years ago I discovered the Gapminder site http://www.gapminder.org/. It’s essentially a user interface to UN statistic database, but what an inspiration! I apreciated the depth from Hans Roslings inspired presentations TED talks (you find them easily at Youtube or http://www.gapminder.org/videos/ I strongly recommend to watch them in chronological order.
Gapminder shows how the world has been changing over time. One of my favourite graphs is to plot the income per capita versus the CO2 emission per capita. By marking some key countries (US, India, China and Sweden in the example below) its easy to follow the development track.
The graph gives “developing countries” a new meaning. Compared to some 40 years ago when my mind was stamped in school, the world has gone from a binominal distribution of wealth to a continuous distribution. It is also evident that the coupling of carbon dioxide emissions and economical growth is very strong. The log-log scale in the graph emphasizes the impression further. The coupling of energy use to economical growth is even stronger. No wonder some economists hesitate to act against global warming. It’s a comfort to know that Sir Nicolas Stern has shown that in the long run it will actually cost less to act against global warming than it will cost to take the consequences.
Any way, I appreciate Gapminder fully! Here are my top 5 graphs that I brows before international visits or journeys:
1, Income per person versus CO2 emissions per person
2, Energy use per person versus CO2 emissions per person (Sweden sticks out!)
3, Imports % of GDP versus Exports % of GDP (under the trade label, US sticks out as most independent of other countries)
4, Pump price of gasoline versus time
5, Income per person versus Industry contribution to economy % of GDP