Rare earth metals or rare earth elements are a collection of seventeen chemical elements located at the bottom of the periodic table. They are key elements in the manufacture of high technology components, hybrid cars, solar panels, lasers, electronics, etc.
As of 2010, China produced 97% of the total world production of rare earths, or 130,000 metric tons, followed by India (2%), Brazil (0.42%), and Malaysia (0.27%).
The estimated demand for rare earths for 2015 will increase 54% compared to the demand in 2010.
Commodities are raw materials essential for the production of more complex products. Commodities fall into three large categories: agricultural, energy, and metals.
According to this visualization, emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India Indonesia, China, South Africa, etc.) have the largest reserves of certain key energy and metal commodities such as oil, coal, copper, cobalt, iron ore, molybdenum, nickel, zinc, and aluminum.
Mint.com tracked how much its users spend on gasoline in one month, and how many times they visit the pump in the same period across the United States.
On average, Americans spend $177 on gas in single month, making an average of 6 visits to the pump, and spending an average of $32 in each transaction.
San Jose (California) stands out as the city where Mint users spend the most on gas, an average of $216 in a single month. Other cities where Mint users spend a lot on gas include Birmingham (Alabama), Jacksonville (Florida), Phoenix (Arizona), and Charlotte (North Carolina) to name a few. In contrast, in cities like New York, Brooklyn (New York), and Washington D.C., which have a good public transportation system, the gas bill is between $102 and $112 per month.
Oil reserves are the amount of oil that can be technically and economically recovered from the ground.
Nations with the world’s largest oil reserves include Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Libya. Saudi Arabia, holds an approximate 234.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, and it has the largest market share for oil production after Russia. Saudi Arabia is followed by Venezuela, with an estimated 211.0 billion barrels of oil reserves, although its current oil production market share is only 3.2%.
By comparison, the United States has an estimated 30.9 billion barrels in oil reserves, and 8.7% market share in oil production.
Vast quantities of crude oil are exported and imported each year. Some countries are net exporters (their oil exports are larger than their oil imports), and some are net importers (their oil imports are larger than their exports).
In this visualization by Data Driven Consulting, we can see that the United States was the largest net importer of crude oil in 2009. Other net importer countries include China, India, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Belgium, Italy, UK, Spain, Singapore, and Australia.
Among the net exporters of crude oil we find Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Norway, Venezuela, Mexico, and Canada.
According to Russian news agency Ria Novosti, Norway has the highest gasoline price among European countries, with a price of 1.90 Euro per liter ( or US $9.475 per gallon at the current exchange rate of 1 Euro = US $1.31). Norway is followed by Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, and Greece.
The lowest gasoline prices are found in Belarus and Kazakhstan, 0.68 Euros and 0.70 Euros per liter, respectively. The average gasoline price for European nations is 1.39 Euros per liter.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that seeks the reduction of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming by setting emission reduction targets for industrialized nations. The Kyoto Protocol was signed on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto (Japan) by 191 countries. The United Stated signed the treaty, but later it did not ratify it.
This visualization by The Guardian shows total carbon emissions by country between 1997 and 2007, ten years since the protocol was signed.
The United States is the country that has produced the largest amount of carbon emissions (64,166 million tonnes) in the period 1997-2007 followed by China, Russia, Japan, India, and Germany.
Asia and Oceania combined are the regions with the highest carbon emissions produced in the same period (96,306 million tonnes). Asia and Oceania are followed by North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) with carbon emissions of the order of 74,867 million tonnes, and Europe with carbon emissions at 50,370 million tonnes as of 2007.
As part of the PBS series America Revealed, this aerial visualization shows the patterns of internet distribution in the United States. We can see that the regions with highest levels of internet connectivity include the Northeast, and parts of the South and Midwest, followed by the Pacific West.
Across the globe, freshwater is consumed by four different economic sectors: domestic, industry, energy and agriculture. The agricultural sector is the largest consumer of water. The industrial and energy sectors follow suit, using 20% of available water resources.
This map (above), published by the Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Toolbox, shows how much water is used by the industrial sector by each country. For the year 2009, the largest consumers of water for industrial use were the U.S. and Europe. Water consumption by the industrial sector accounted for 50% of total water use.
Fossil fuel subsidies are very common in developing nations. Subsidies cover the difference between the price at which fossil fuels are sold inside the country and their actual price in international markets, creating a huge fiscal burden (an estimated $400 billion annually) for the countries that provide them. Developing nations with fossil fuel subsidies include: Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Indonesia, etc.
Developed nations also provide subsidies in the form of tax breaks to the oil industry and other measures (estimated at a cost of $45 to $75 billion per year). Nations in this group include many OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) members.