Earth Policy Institute: Podcast (data highlights)

Wind has overtaken nuclear as an electricity source in China. In 2012, wind farms generated 2 percent more electricity than nuclear power plants did, a gap that will likely widen dramatically over the next few years as wind surges ahead. Since 2007, nuclear power generation has risen by 10 percent annually, compared with wind’s explosive growth of 80 percent per year.

Direct download: Wind_Surpasses_Nuclear_in_China.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 2:49pm EST

Global demand for soybeans has soared in recent decades, with China leading the race. Nearly 60 percent of all soybeans entering international trade today go to China, making it far and away the world’s largest importer.

Direct download: Chinas_Rising_Soybean_Consumption.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 9:43am EST

September estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show 2012 U.S. corn yields at 123 bushels per acre, down by a fourth from the 2009 high of 165 bushels per acre. Yields are the lowest since 1995 and well below the average of the last 30 years. The summer heat and drought also hit U.S. soybean yields, which are down 20 percent from their 2009 peak. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Heat_and_drought_ravage_corn_crop.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 11:22am EST

World hydroelectric power generation has risen steadily by an average 3 percent annually over the past four decades. In 2011, at 3,500 billion kilowatt-hours, hydroelectricity accounted for roughly 16 percent of global electricity generation, almost all produced by the world’s 45,000-plus large dams. Today hydropower is generated in over 160 countries. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Hydropower_Continues_Steady_Growth.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 11:24am EST

The Arab countries in the Middle East and Africa make up only 5 percent of the world's population, yet they take in more than 20 percent of the world's grain exports. Population growth and increased meat and dairy consumption have raised grain use per person by 50 percent from 1970-2011. With water scarce, arable land limited, and production stagnating, grain imports are likely to continue rising.

Direct download: Arab_Grain_Imports_Rising_Rapidly.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 3:03pm EST

A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. While electricity generation from coal peaked in 2007 and nuclear generation fell between 2007 and 2011, wind-generated electricity grew by a whopping 36 percent each year over the same period. Multiple factors underlie this nascent shift in U.S. electricity production including the global recession, increasing energy efficiency, and more economically recoverable domestic natural gas. But ultimately it is the increasing attractiveness of wind as an energy source that will drive it into prominence.

Direct download: Wind_Tops_10_Percent_Share_of_Electricity.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 10:52am EST

Three years from the deadline set at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development to make voluntary family planning services universally available, at least 215 million women are not using effective contraception. This "umet need" for family planning may be due to poor reproductive health information, social pressures, or insufficient access to contraceptive options. Now more then ever, meeting this basic health care need is essential for building healthy societies and a sustainable civilization.

Direct download: Growth_in_World_Contraceptive_Use_Stalling.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 3:12pm EST

U.S. meat consumption has peaked. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that meat eating across the country fell from the 2004 high point of 184 pounds (83 kilograms) per person to 171 pounds in 2011. Early estimates for 2012 project a further reduction in American meat eating to 166 pounds, making for a 10 percent drop over the eight-year period. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Peak_Meat_U.S._Meat_Consumption_Falling.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 1:57pm EST

Governments Spend $1.4 Billion Per Day to Destabilize Climate

We distort reality when we omit the health and environmental costs associated with burning fossil fuels from their prices. When governments actually subsidize their use, they take the distortion even further. Worldwide, direct fossil fuel subsidies added up to roughly $500 billion in 2010. Of this, supports on the production side totaled some $100 billion. Supports for consumption exceeded $400 billion, with $193 billion for oil, $91 billion for natural gas, $3 billion for coal, and $122 billion spent subsidizing the use of fossil fuel-generated electricity. All together, governments are shelling out nearly $1.4 billion per day to further destabilize the earth's climate. For full report,visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Governments_Spend_1.4_Billion_Per_Day_to_Destabilize_Climate.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 9:40am EST

Harnessing the Sun's Energy for Water and Space Heating

The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these "solar thermal collectors" use the sun's energy to heat water, space, or both. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Harnessing_the_Suns_Energy_for_Water_and_Space_Heating.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 10:03pm EST