Statistics are Actually Kind of Cool…I’m Not Kidding!

Earlier this year I attended the EIA Conference in Washington, DC, and luckily for me I walked away from the trip with more than just a new found appreciation for the beauty of the capital of the United States.  This was my first EIA Conference, and it was chock full of wildly useful information.  Our keynote speaker at lunch was Hans Rosling, a professor at Karolinska Institute and Chairman of the Gapminder Foundation.  Although Professor Rosling isn’t an energy expert, his discussion and presentation were particularly interesting, because he discussed population growth and the importance of access to energy for developing countries among other topics.  He actually talks about the importance of creating a fact based worldview at Gapmider.  It is no longer just developed and developing countries…the facts show us another story.

 

I wish I could link you to his presentation as a keynote at the EIA Conference (It really was great.  There were animated bouncing circle graphs and everything.), but unfortunately that is unavailable (and I was too busy eating the surprisingly good lunch to really take good notes on the statistics he presented).   He is an incredibly entertaining, informative, and enthusiastic speaker.  However poor my notes are on his statistics (and they are practically non-existent), I was astounded at the impact access to energy and simple electricity truly has on the development of a country.  The challenge with this access comes from a great variety of sources, but infrastructure plays a large role.  Hans Rosling’s discussion came to mind as I was reading this white paper today.

Technology Trends and Tomorrow’s Energy Infrastructure Challenge

The latest studies show massive increases coming for the world’s population, and with that increase will come growing demand for hydrocarbons. The infrastructure to meet that demand is lacking, and it will take a massive investment over multiple generations to provide it. Meeting this challenge is already a monumental undertaking. Factor in skills shortages, environmental difficulties, increasing project size, and financial concerns, and the challenge can seem insurmountable. AutoDesk is thinking about these challenges. In Technology Trends and Tomorrow’s Energy Infrastructure Challenge, AutoDesk and PennEnergy look at these massive infrastructure needs and consider the technological advances that will help us meet and overcome them. This white paper examines real data from the OECD and the IEA, and looks at the possible scenarios it paints for the future. Then, using the latest technology trends, the paper confronts these challenges. From possible scenarios to probable results, this paper looks at the future needs for oil and gas infrastructure, and how we can best meet that challenge.

Now, I couldn’t find a video of a similar talk, by Hans Rosling, but Gapmider does a really cool thing, they offer the statistics (including the lovely dancing circles) to view for free.   So what is Gapminder exactly?

Gapminder is a non-profit foundation based in Stockholm. Our goal is to replace devastating myths with a fact-based worldview. Our method is to make data easy to understand. We are dedicated to innovate and spread new methods to make global development understandable, free of charge, without advertising. Gapminder.org

I hunted down a couple (or a few, I may have gotten fascinated by the bouncing circles) statistics that provide a correlation between the decrease in infant mortality rate and the increase in energy use.   I believe many of these are the same as the ones Mr. Rosling used in the presentation I saw.  However, I don’t have Sherlock Holmes’s mind palace and this was four months ago.  Hopefully, he’ll forgive me if I missed something or added something.  The graphs that I found to provide fascinating insight into this topic are listed and linked to below.  They have this data available in Excel format as well, but….well, I like the dancing circles more than numbers.

Energy use, total

Electricity use, total

Oil consumption, total

Child mortality (0-5 year olds dying per 1,000 born)

Children per woman (total fertility)

Life expectancy (years)

This Ted Talk from 2009 doesn’t cover the energy issue, but I found it really interesting.  Actually, all of his talks are pretty stinking riveting.  This guy makes statistics fun…those are words I never thought I would ever utter in my lifetime.  Thank goodness I’m sitting down.  I especially liked the surprise trick at the end. (No, I can’t tell you what it is…it wouldn’t be a surprise otherwise!)

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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