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 Trains||Country||Speed Record|
|L0 Series Maglev||Japan||374 mph (602 km/h)|
|CRRC Qingdao Sifang 2021 Maglev*||China||373 mph (600 km/h)|
|TGV POS||France||357 mph (575 km/h)|
|CRH380A Hexie||China||302 mph (486 km/h)|
|Shanghai Maglev||China||268 mph (431 km/h)|
|HEMU-430X||South Korea||262 mph (422 km/h)|
|Fuxing Hao CR400AF||China||260 mph (418 km/h)|
|Frecciarossa 1000||Italy||245 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.
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)
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 factor||Category||Average annual forest loss (2001-2015, million hectares)|
|Commodity-driven deforestation||Permanent deforestation||5.7|
|Forestry products||Forest degradation||5.4|
|Shifting agriculture||Forest degradation||5|
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.
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?
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 Americans||Foreign Policy Concern||Share of Voters Listing it as a Top Concern||Share of Democrats Listing it as a Top Concern||Share of Republicans Listing it as a Top Concern|
|#6||Preventing a global economic crisis||32%||33%||31%|
|#7||Securing critical supply chains||30%||27%||34%|
|#8||Preventing another global pandemic||30%||38%||22%|
|#9||Russia's invasion of Ukraine||27%||33%||21%|
|#10||Protecting human rights globally||25%||31%||18%|
|#13||Iran nuclear deal||21%||19%||24%|
|#14||Upholding democracy globally||15%||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:
|Issue||Increase Efforts||Decrease Efforts||Neither|
|Overseas Troop Deployment||21%||37%||30%|
|Trade and Tariffs||41%||15%||29%|
|Involvement with International Organizations||35%||21%||32%|
|Resolution of Military Disputes||38%||16%||33%|
|Resolution of Economic Disputes||43%||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:
- The economy
- The future of democracy within the U.S.
- 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.
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