Russia’s population is the world’s ninth-largest. At 143 million, Russia has about 13% more people than 10th-ranked Japan. We wonder: On which of the following categories does Russia rank first worldwide?
A. Cigarette consumption
B. Defense spending
E. Natural gas reserves
F. Land area
Falling oil prices have put significant pressure on countries that have long relied on reaping the benefits of their large oil resources. The anticipated global transition away from fossil fuels will further add to that pressure. We wonder: Which country has the world’s largest proven crude oil reserves?
C. Saudi Arabia
Money spent to subsidize the consumption of fossil fuels (as opposed to production) worldwide fell from $500 billion to $325 billion in 2015. It is one step on the long road to combating climate change. We wonder: Which of the following energy categories receives the greatest global consumption subsidies annually?
B. Natural gas
Oil prices are down significantly, while solar energy is on the march and gleaming new wind turbines are spinning in greater numbers than ever. Has the tide finally shifted toward clean, renewable energy for the coming decades? We wonder: What share of global energy demand will still be served by fossil fuels in 2040?
This month, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosts the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The country has been on a roller coaster of late – politically, economically and socially. Which of these statements about Brazil are true?
A. It has the world’s fifth-largest population
B. It has Latin America’s second-largest proven oil reserves
C. It is the world’s seventh-largest economy
D. Economic inequality is much greater than in developed economies.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most dominant players in the Middle East. We wonder: Which of the following statements about Saudi Arabia are true?
A. Saudi Arabia is the top oil producer in the world.
B. Saudi Arabia has a budget deficit.
C. Its education system is struggling.
Oil companies are generating record profits. At the same time, given severe crises ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq to Sudan and Lebanon, the United Nations has come into more demand now than ever before. We wonder: How many years of current UN operations could be financed by the 2005 profits of the world’s top six oil companies?