Data Viz Done Right

May 27, 2019

#MakeoverMonday: What has happened since people started paying attention to climate change?

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For week 22, Eva chose a topic that she and I are both very passionate about...climate change.


What works well?

  • Using a line chart over time helps show the trends
  • Including a slider filter for the user to zoom in on a specific period

What could be improved?
  • Using dotted lines indicates there are breaks in the timeline, but there aren't. Therefore, a solid line should be used.
  • The labels on the ends of the lines hide the data.
  • It could use an impactful title and subtitle. Though I suppose this is just a report, not analysis.

What I did

I created a map to ensure that the country names were correct. When I did this, I then saw that there were lots of aggregations of countries.  For some reason, the income level categories captured my attention so I filtered down to just those items.

The years 2015-2018 were include and didn't have any values. I filtered those out. There were years when no data was captured for some countries. I filtered those out.

I plotted the data as a line chart and created a calculation to show the change vs. the first year for each country. I noticed that there was a spike in CO₂ per capita in 1973 for high income countries. This reminded me of the oil crisis of 1973, but that wouldn't have anything to do with carbon emissions I wouldn't think.

That got me thinking about climate change in general. I entered "when did people start paying attention to climate change" into Google and the first search result was an article from National Geographic titled "Climate Change First Became News 30 Years Ago. Why Haven’t We Fixed It?"

This particular line was what I was looking for: "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in late 1988..."

So, back to the data I went and I filtered the data to 1988-2014 and compared every subsequent year to 1988 in order to see how much things have changed since climate change started garnering some attention. I expected high income countries to have ever increasing CO₂ per capita. I was wrong.

It turns out that the middle income countries have had the largest change in CO₂ per capita. So that became the focus of this analysis.

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