The Fastest Trains in the World
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Visualizing the Fastest Trains in the World

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The Fastest Trains in the World

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The Briefing

  • Japan’s L0 Series Maglev is the fastest train in the world, with a speed record of 374 mph or 602 km/h. It could go the distance from New York City to Montreal in less than an hour.
  • China has half of the eight fastest trains, and the world’s largest high-speed railway network.

Visualizing the Fastest Trains in the World

Ever since the invention of the steam locomotive in 1802, trains have been a driving societal force.

Invented in Britain at the height of the Industrial Revolution, steam trains gave the empire an unparalleled advantage in transporting goods and people. Soon it spread around the world as other nations scrambled to build their own railway networks to facilitate growth and commerce.

But just as nations rushed to build more railways, they also tried to build faster trains. Japan’s Tōkaidō Shinkansen or “bullet train” in 1964 was the first high-speed rail system, achieving a speed above 124 mph or 200 km/h.

How do other countries and trains compare?

Let’s dive into the fastest trains in the world using data from Travel and Leisure magazine.

Who Has The Fastest Trains in the World?

Japan started the high-speed train revolution in earnest, and it’s still at the top of the charts.

Though it’s fastest regular operating bullet trains (the N700A Shinkansen) can reach a top speed of 186 mph or 300 km/h, the country’s new development in magnetic levitation (maglev) is breaking speed records.

In fact, the top two fastest trains in the world are maglev, using two sets of magnets to elevate the train and propel it forward without friction to slow it down.

World's Fastest TrainsCountrySpeed Record
L0 Series MaglevJapan374 mph (602 km/h)
CRRC Qingdao Sifang 2021 Maglev*China373 mph (600 km/h)
TGV POSFrance357 mph (575 km/h)
CRH380A HexieChina302 mph (486 km/h)
Shanghai MaglevChina268 mph (431 km/h)
HEMU-430XSouth Korea262 mph (422 km/h)
Fuxing Hao CR400AFChina260 mph (418 km/h)
Frecciarossa 1000Italy245 mph (394 km/h)

*No official name or designation has been given yet, so currently listed under the manufacturer’s name, CRRC Qingdao Sifang.

Japan’s L0 Series Maglev is still in production, but with a land speed record of 374 mph or 602 km/h it is the fastest train in the world.

China’s Fastest Trains Look to Pass Japan

Japan is facing stiff competition from China, which already has the world’s longest high speed railway network and is investing heavily in infrastructure.

China already has a maglev train in operation, the Shanghai Maglev, which connects the city center with the international airport. The country’s latest unveiled train in July 2021 achieved a land speed of 373 mph or 600 km/h.

When it was unveiled, the new maglev train was announced as the fastest operating train in the world as it enters full production. But until full operation actually begins, its test speed record is still under that of the L0 Series.

In fact, China has half of the eight fastest trains in the world. Including Japan and South Korea, Asia accounts for the bulk of high-speed rail networks and record speeds.

Though it’s not all maglevs and Asia dominance. Conventional electric trains in Europe also made the list, with France’s TGV POS and Italy’s Frecciarossa 1000 reaching speeds of 357 mph (575 km/h) and 245 mph (394 km/h) respectively.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Travel + Leisure, Reuters

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Datastream

Visualizing the Five Drivers of Forest Loss

Approximately 15 billion trees are cut down annually across the world. Here’s a look at the five major drivers of forest loss. (Sponsored)

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The Briefing

  • On average, the world loses more than 20 million hectares of forests annually.
  • Agriculture and commodity-driven deforestation each account for approximately a quarter of annual forest loss.

Visualizing the Five Drivers of Forest Loss

The world has lost one-third of its forests since the ice age, and today, approximately 15 billion trees are cut down annually.

Forests are wellsprings of biodiversity and an essential buffer against climate change, absorbing billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Yet, forest loss continues to grow.

The above infographic sponsored by Carbon Streaming Corporation highlights the five primary drivers behind forest loss.

Deforestation vs. Degradation

‘Forest loss’ is a broad term that captures the impacts of both permanent deforestation and forest degradation. There is an important distinction between the two:

  • Permanent deforestation: Refers to the complete removal of trees or conversion of forests to another land use (like buildings), where forests cannot regrow.
  • Forest degradation: Refers to a reduction in the density of trees in the area without a change in land use. Forests are expected to regrow.

Forest degradation accounts for over 70% or 15 million hectares of annual forest loss. The other 30% of lost forests are permanently deforested.

Driving factorCategoryAverage annual forest loss (2001-2015, million hectares)
Commodity-driven deforestationPermanent deforestation5.7
UrbanizationPermanent deforestation0.1
Forestry productsForest degradation5.4
Shifting agricultureForest degradation5
WildfiresForest degradation4.8
TotalN/A21

Commodity-driven deforestation, which includes removal of forests for farming and mining, is the largest driver of forest loss. Agriculture alone accounts for three-fourths of all commodity-driven deforestation, where forests are often converted into land for cattle ranches and plantations.

The harvesting of forestry products like timber, paper, pulp, and rubber accounts for the largest share of forest loss from degradation. This process is often managed and planned so that forests can regrow after the harvest.

Shifting agriculture and wildfires each account for around 5 million hectares or one-fourth of annual forest loss. In both cases, forests can replenish if the land is left unused.

Urbanization—the conversion of forests into land for cities and infrastructure—is by far the smallest contributor, accounting for less than 1% of annual forest loss.

How Much Carbon Do Forests Absorb?

The world’s forests absorbed nearly twice as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as they emitted between 2001 and 2019, according to research published in Nature.

On a net basis, forests sequester 7.6 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) annually, which equates to around 15% of global CO2e emissions. As the impacts of climate change intensify, protecting forests from deforestation and degradation is increasingly critical.

Carbon Streaming Corporation accelerates climate action through carbon credit streams on REDD+ projects that protect the Earth’s forests. Click here to learn more now.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Our World in Data

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Ranked: Top 10 Foreign Policy Concerns of Americans

As the world’s superpower, the U.S. has major influence in world events. Which foreign policy concerns stand out for Americans?

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america's foreign policy

The Briefing

  • Political leanings aside, terrorism remains a top issue of concern for Americans
  • Previous top issues, such as disinformation and U.S.–China relations, now rank lower

In the United States, there is a distinct difference on top foreign policy concerns between Democrats and Republicans.

This chart uses data from Morning Consult to assess the top policy concerns of Americans.

The Top Concerns

Overall, the average American is most concerned about terrorism, immigration, and drug trafficking. Interestingly, this list corresponds with the concerns of the average Republican, though falling in a different order.

Meanwhile, Democrats are chiefly worried about climate change, another global pandemic, and terrorism.

Here’s a breakdown of the policy concerns at large and across political parties.

Overall Rank with AmericansForeign Policy ConcernShare of Voters Listing it as a Top ConcernShare of Democrats Listing it as a Top ConcernShare of Republicans Listing it as a Top Concern
#1Terrorism49%38%62%
#2Immigration43%22%67%
#3Drug trafficking43%30%59%
#4Cyberattacks39%35%40%
#5Climate change38%54%17%
#6Preventing a global economic crisis32%33%31%
#7Securing critical supply chains30%27%34%
#8Preventing another global pandemic30%38%22%
#9Russia's invasion of Ukraine27%33%21%
#10Protecting human rights globally25%31%18%
#11Preventing disinformation24%29%21%
#12U.S.-China relations24%19%31%
#13Iran nuclear deal21%19%24%
#14Upholding democracy globally15%22%8%

Notably, the concern around U.S.-China relations ranks considerably low, as does preventing disinformation. Upholding democracy worldwide ranks extremely low with Republicans.

America’s Foreign Policy

Along party lines, the results are not surprising. Democrats skew towards multilateralism and want to engage with foreign bodies and other countries to tackle global issues. Republicans are generally more concerned with what’s happening at home.

Looking at the country as a whole and its relations with other nations, however, Americans lean more towards an America-first focus. According to Morning Consult, 39% of registered voters want to decrease U.S. involvement in other countries’ affairs, whereas 20% want to increase it; 30% want to keep the status quo.

Here’s a closer look at Americans’ desire to get involved in a variety of foreign policy initiatives:

IssueIncrease EffortsDecrease EffortsNeither
Overseas Troop Deployment21%37%30%
Trade and Tariffs41%15%29%
Involvement with International Organizations35%21%32%
Resolution of Military Disputes38%16%33%
Resolution of Economic Disputes43%13%31%

As of October 2022

The U.S. Midterm Elections

With midterm elections underway, America’s foreign policy may not be the most important factor for voters. Pew Research Center found that in these congressional elections, foreign policy only ranked 12th among other key issues considered “very important” by registered voters.

The top five concerns of voters in these midterms are:

  1. The economy
  2. The future of democracy within the U.S.
  3. Education
  4. Healthcare
  5. Energy policy

Regardless, the U.S. has a massive impact in foreign affairs and the results of the country’s midterm elections will likely cause a ripple effect globally. If Republicans win the House—which is looking extremely likely—and the Senate, President Biden’s foreign policy initiatives and priorities could be drastically restricted.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Morning Consult

Data notes: This ranking is made using the share of registered U.S. voters who identified the given issue as a top 5 concern for the country. For example, only 30% of registered voters said securing critical supply chains was a top 5 concern which is why it’s #7, whereas 43% said immigration was a top concern, ranking it at #2.

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