Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ranking G-20 carbon emissions

This is another prototype interactive chart undertaken in the October 2010 data visualisation unit as part of the Master of Digital Design

Mashed up data sets

In this project I have experimented with mashing up multiple data sets, which visualised together give greater context to the data than if viewed independently.

I have started with a data set from the wikipedia article on the G-20 major economies which sets out population and gross domestic product (GDP), total and per capita, both nominal and with purchasing power parity (PPP). This is a rich and interesting, concise, data set to explore in it self. It is probably already a mash up from various sources.

I have added to this set data about carbon emissions for the same countries, extracted  from lists on wikipedia of all countries total emissions and per capita emissions. I then calculated emissions to GDP ratios, which is slightly flawed because the respective data was from different years, but very interesting as a indicative and prototype only exercise. This all took a bit of stitching together manually, but was very rewarding because quickly, visually, it was possible to see greater specific context than is usually available when considering carbon emissions - that is who was efficient or wasteful in generating money from emissions and who could most afford to reduce them.

There were two visualisation modes that the data could be explored  in - ranked lists and scatter plot. The ranked lists can visualise more than two dimensions simultaneously, however the scatter plot can show clusters of data and outliers. Both are really useful.

Ranked lists - carbon emissions total, per capita, and against GDP nominal and PPP - Australia is highlighted

Scatter plot - carbon emissions per capita vertical axis and against nominal GDP horizontal axis
The visualisations help ground Australia's contribution (current, not historical!) to climate change relative to other major economies during ongoing ferocious political debate about Australia's responsibility to act to reduce emissions. They show China and the United  States as significant outliers when it comes to total emissions, and the United States, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia as significant outliers when  it comes to per capita emissions. When it comes to efficiency, France is way ahead of Italy, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan, who are themselves way ahead of the rest.

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