Electric Vehicles in China

China wants to lead the world in the manufacture and use of clean-energy cars, and to achieve this it will need to ensure research and development in battery production. Batteries have become vital to the manufacture of clean energy cars. As part of China’s industry development plan (April 2017), the government pledged to promote research and development of key battery cell parts and improve management structures in the industry. Batteries are at the heart of clean energy vehicles because they are ...

Chocolate industry destroying rainforest in Cote d’Ivoire

The world’s chocolate industry is driving deforestation on a devastating scale in West Africa. As global demand for chocolate booms, ‘dirty’ beans from deforested national parks have entered big business supply chains. As much as 40% of the world’s cocoa comes from Cote d’Ivoire, and the rainforest cover has been reduced by more than 80% since 1960. The chocolate industry has many small-scale farmers who grow cocoa on plantations, many of which are illegal as they are in national parks or protected ...

Saudi women allowed to drive

Clerics in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, have long struggled to justify the kingdom’s decades-old ban on women driving. None could cite a verse in the Koran to justify barring women from driving a vehicle. On September 26th the Kingdom decided to lift the ban. The decision was welcomed by women and many men. It will give Saudi women a freedom that others take for granted. It will have economic benefits, too, sparing families the cost of hiring a (male) ...

Ageing population in South Korea

Earlier this year, scientists predicted that women born in South Korea in 2030 will live, on average, until they are 90, thereby over-taking Japan in terms of female life expectancy. Basic demographic indicators Age structure % of the population 0-14 years 13.45% 15-24 years 13.08% 25-54 years 45.93% 55-64 years 14.01% 65 years + 13.53% Median age 41.2 years Crude birth rate 8.4% Crude death rate 5.8% Life expectancy 82.4 years (female 85.8 years, male 79.3 years) (Source CIA World Factbook) The study suggests that South Koreans will experience the greatest rise in life expectancy in the industrialised world, ...

Wetlands in Ireland

Wetlands are lands covered by water, and include lakes, rivers, marshes, fens, bogs and other water bodies whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary. The water in wetlands may be still, flowing, fresh, salty or brackish. Wetlands are found throughout the world in low-lying areas in particular, but also in some high areas. They are particularly important in some LEDCs as a source of food (rice paddies, for example, as well as sources of fish and shellfish. Wetlands perform many ...

Soil and water pollution in China

Soil and water pollution is an increasing problem in China. Soil contamination occurs in most countries with a lot of farmland, heavy industry and mining. In Ukraine, for example, which has all three, about 8% of the land is contaminated. However, China is the world’s largest producer of food and of heavy industrial commodities such as steel and cement. China’s soil contamination is so great that it is impossible to remove all the contaminants. The country has many brownfield sites (contaminated ...

Japan’s changing demography

Japan’s ageing population is having a number of impacts – some demographic, some social and economic and even some technological! Japan has entered a vicious cycle of low fertility and low spending that has led to a huge decline in lost GDP and a population decline of 1 million people, all since 2012. One commentator has suggested that it is death of the Japanese family. A 2016 study conducted by a Japanese research firm found that even though nearly 70% of ...

Changes in the number of people living in absolute poverty

In 1981 some 42% of the world’s population were extremely poor. Since then the number of people in absolute poverty has fallen by about 1 billion. By 2013, the most recent year for which reliable data exist, just 10.7% of the world’s population was poor (living on less than $1.90 a day at 2011 purchasing-power parity). The World Bank’s estimate for the number of people living in absolute poverty 2016 is 9.1%. It took Britain about a century, from the 1820s ...

Tourism in Cuba

Many people in Cuba are poor. Average purchasing power parity is around $11,500 but there is widespread inequality within Cuba. For example, a typical state employee makes $25 a month. Tourism has the potential to create jobs and raise incomes but there are far fewer tourists in Cuba than there ought to be. One of the main constraints on developing the tourist sector has been the government: Cuba is a communist dictatorship in a time warp. The big hotels, majority-owned by ...

Changing mortality in England and Wales

Better health care and improved living conditions has led to a continuing fall in mortality in England and Wales since the end of the Second World War. Between 2003 and 2013, life expectancy in England rose by 3 years for men and 2.3 years for women. Deaths among the elderly are expected to push up the mortality rate eventually, but probably not until after 2025, when many of the population reach their late 70s and 80s. However, in 2012 and ...