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Visualizing Clean Energy Progress

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Data visualizations with the International Energy Agency’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013 report show what it means when they say that the world is not on track to meet 2050 sustainability goals.The eight interactive data visualizations take users through the data behind this grim message, and reveal the opportunities that are opening in the transportation sector.

In the “Renewable Power” data visualization, one can look at the historic trends in worldwide renewable power development or zoom in to see the trends for specific countries over time. And, this pictures shows what current trends will lead to (not enough generation, if one wishes to meet sustainability goals).



The “Fuel Economy Readiness Index” visualization takes a more geographic-focus, overlaying a world map with transportation sector characteristics.The “Biofuels” visualization plots countrywide per capita biofuel consumption and % of fuel consumption. The five other visualizations paint pictures of coal and gas power, carbon dioxide capture, electric vehicles, building energy intensity, and the IEA’s carbon intensity metric. And, for those who want to take it a step further, all of the data behind these visualizations are available for free online.

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Carlyle 8:53 am 05/8/2013

    Just imagine how much progress would have been made, how many billions of tons of irreplaceable fossil fuel would have been saved had all those billions of dollars not been wasted on alternative energy schemes. Ten of billions & not one plant capable of producing 24/7 industrial scale power not backed up by fossil fuel or nuclear fuelled systems. Genuinely green people should be clamouring for the ditching of solar & wind & for concerted drive instead to improve the only genuine alternative to fossil fuelled power generation. Until the present attitude changes, the waste will continue & who is to blame for that? Future generations will not thank us for wasting such valuable resources.

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