Fighting climate change is about making the planet get less hot. The more quickly countries slow down their carbon emissions, the faster that'll happen. All the more important for the nations that pollute the most — but not all of them are on board. Although the majority, including China, are setting future targets to go Net Zero, India doesn't want to commit (yet) to when to stop burning fossil fuels to spur economic growth. We take a look at when the world's top polluting economies intend to go carbon-neutral, compared with their share of global emissions, of renewable energy as a source of electricity, and percentage of global coal consumption.
The US passed a grim milestone this week, surpassing 500,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highest total death toll in the world. COVID has now outpaced other killer diseases like cancer and heart disease to become the leading US cause of death. As a result, life expectancy in pandemic-ravaged America dropped by a year to 77.8 in the first half of 2020 — the largest dip since World War II. But there is some good news on the horizon: COVID hospitalizations and deaths are falling fast while the vaccine rollout picks up steam. To contextualize the scope of the crisis in America, we compare the average number of daily deaths from COVID over the past year to deaths from heart disease and cancer during the same period.
During the early months of the pandemic, scientists announced some rare good news in a hellish year: as energy demands fell because of stay-at-home policies, global carbon emissions plummeted. Some hoped the impact might be long lasting. But mere months later, as the pandemic recovery has picked up in many countries, greenhouse gas emissions have ramped up again, reaching pre-pandemic levels in many places. Here's a look at the amount of carbon dioxide produced in several regions and countries during the first six months of 2020.
One is "snow-covered." Another is named for the "virgin queen" of England. A third means "near the great-little mountain." Many of the names of US states come from Spanish, English, and French — the languages of the empires that colonized North America. But by far the greatest number derive from the languages of the Native American peoples who were displaced or killed as part of that sweep of history. Here's a look at where the names of the 50 US states come from.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the graphic mistakenly identified Delaware as being a name of Native American/Indigenous origin. In fact, the state — like the river and bay — was named for the Baron of De La Warr, a British peerage title held by Thomas West, colonial governor of neighboring Virginia. History buffs will note that De La Warr is itself a title of French origin, but insofar as the state was named for a British lord, we have coded it as such.
Perceptions of China across most of the developed world have been on a steady decline in recent years — and plummeted this year due to China's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing's aggressive policies in Hong Kong, the South China Sea Sea, and Xinjiang. In a recent Pew survey, a majority of respondents in a group of 14 countries had an unfavorable opinion of China, and their opinion was more negative than a year ago. Australians' disapproval of China jumped 24 points since 2019, while Americans' increased 13 points amid growing US-China political tensions. We take a look at how many people in 12 of the surveyed countries dislike China, and compare it to their trade volume with China as a percentage of GDP.
This year's United General Assembly will be very different. Hotels in New York will not be full of famous heads of state, metal detectors, or US secret service agents as the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world's largest diplomatic gathering into a mostly online affair to enforce social distancing. A virtual UNGA requires a 20th century institution — which turns 75 and still thinks in analog in many ways — to rapidly embrace 21st century technology. How will UNGA adapt to its new virtual setting? Here are a few things that will change.
It's been more than six months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Cases and deaths have continued to surge around the world — with new hotspots emerging in Latin America and South Asia. A robust global conversation has unfolded in recent months about how politicians in different countries have handled the once-in-a-generation global health crisis, and whether the anti-science views of some populist leaders — like Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro and President Donald Trump in the US —have led to worse outcomes. Here's a look at states with the highest COVID-19 deaths tolls per capita — with highlights for those governed by overtly populist/anti-establishment leaders.
This year's United Nations General Assembly will be mostly virtual, so the high-stakes drama of global diplomacy won't be the usual "contact sport" between rivaling nations. But previous UNGA editions have been full of surprising, unusual, and often bizarre moments inside the General Assembly Hall in New York. Here's a historical look at highly dramatic events that have taken place at the world's largest diplomatic gathering since 1945.