For most people, our experiences in everyday life are with using lower numbers like one, two, or ten. We not only comprehend what it means to buy five apples, but we can also visualize exactly what that might look like. In other words, these are numbers that fall within a range that is very intuitive for most humans.
Extrapolate that a little higher and we can still comprehend the numbers, but we start to lose that intuition.
Are there 1,500 or 2,000 people at a music venue? It’s hard to know for sure, but we do at least have a basic comprehension of the sizes of those numbers. Every day, we do math with numbers in the thousands – a paycheck, a credit card bill, or paying rent.
Millions, billions, trillions
This is where things start to get dodgy. Once numbers get beyond the millions, we don’t really have any intuition, tactile familiarity, or comprehension of what they mean.
- One million seconds = 12 days
- One billion seconds = 32 years
- One trillion seconds = 32,000 years
Going back in time a trillion seconds would place you well before written history, the building of the pyramids, and 10,000 years before the first cave wall paintings in France.
Our monkey brains don’t really know what to do with these giant abstractions, and so it helps to think about them in different ways, especially visually.
The Visual Interpretation
Looking at visual representations of these numbers will help to put them in perspective.
Below is a series of fantastic 3d graphics produced by Demonocracy.info that help to do this for the $20 trillion in U.S. Federal Government debt. It starts with a $100 bill, and goes from there. Enjoy!
1. Here is a single $100 bill.
2. Here is $10,000, or 100 of those same bills in a stack.
3. $1 million, or equal to 92 years of work for the average human on Earth.
4. $100 million on a pallet. The couch is worth a cool $46.7 million, too.
5. $1 Billion – getting bigger…
6. $1 trillion, looking at it from a front angle.
7. Here’s a better view of the $1 trillion with the White House.
8. Finally, here’s $20+ trillion of U.S. government debt.
An Investor’s Guide to Copper in 3 Charts
Explore three key insights into the future of the copper market, from soaring demand to potential supply constraints.
An Investor’s Guide to Copper
Copper is the world’s third-most utilized industrial metal and the linchpin of many clean energy technologies. It forms the vital connections in our electricity networks, grid storage systems, and electric vehicles.
In this graphic, sponsored by iShares, we dig into the forces that are set to shape the future of the copper landscape.
How Much Copper Do We Need?
Copper is poised to experience a remarkable 54% surge in demand from 2022 to 2050.
Here’s a breakdown of the expected demand for copper across clean energy technologies.
|Technology||2022 (kt)||2050P (kt)|
|Other low emissions power generation||93.7||142.2|
|Grid battery storage||24.6||665.2|
Copper is vital in renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicle batteries because of its high electrical conductivity and durability.
It ensures the effective transmission of electricity and heat, enhancing the overall performance and sustainability of these technologies.
The rising demand for copper in the clean energy sector underscores its critical role in the transition to a greener and more sustainable future.
When Will Copper Demand Exceed Supply?
The burgeoning demand for copper has set the stage for looming supply challenges with a 22% gap predicted by 2031.
Given this metal’s pivotal role in clean energy and technological advancements, innovative mining and processing technologies could hold the key to boosting copper production and meeting the needs of a net-zero future.
Investing in Copper for a Prosperous Future
Investors looking for copper exposure may want to consider an ETF that tracks an index that offers access to companies focused on the exploration and mining of copper.
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