40 Years of the IAEA
BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE CHANGING WORLD AROUND US
1972 1997
POPULATION  
World population stands at 3.8 billion people, over 70% of whom live in developing countries. Total population hits 5.85 billion, an increase of two billion over 1972, and grows by 81 million people a year. About 80% of the world population now live in developing countries.
   
URBANIZATION  
About 38% of humanity live in towns and cities, only three of which have more than ten million inhabitants. About 47% of humanity live in or near cities, eighteen of which have more than ten million inhabitants. Thirteen of these "megacities" are in developing countries.
   
AIR POLLUTION
More than 200 million cars, most of them in industrialized countries, aggravate localized pollution problems. Nearly 500 million cars are on the roads in industrialized and developing countries, where many cities now have hazardous pollution levels. Transboundary pollution has become a regional and global issue.
   
  THE EARTH & CO2
About sixteen billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, a gas linked to global warming, are released into the air annually, atmospheric concentration stands at 327 ppm. CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels and other sources are approximately twenty-three billion tonnes per year. Atmospheric concentrations surpass 360 ppm - about 20% higher than levels one hundred years ago.
   
FRESH WATER  
About 2600 cubic kilometres of fresh water are used annually, mostly for irrigation. Fresh water use has risen by nearly two-thirds to 4200 cubic kilometres a year. Water problems are severe: 1.4 billion people - one-fifth of the world population - lack access to safe drinking water, and one-tenth lack water for proper sanitation.
   
ENERGY MIX
Fossil fuels make up 94% of the world's energy mix. Fossil fuels account for 90% of the world's energy mix, up 3% from 1991 and indicating a rising trend after the low of the 1980s.
   
ELECTRICITY
Electricity accounts for about 21% of total energy production. On a yearly per capita basis, consumption is about 1400 kilowatt-hours (kWh). By region, consumption stands at approximately 8200 kWh in North America, 3100 in Western Europe, 2800 in Eastern Europe, 565 in Latin America, 396 in South East Asia, 240 in Africa, and 143 in the Middle East and South Asia. Total world electricity generation is about 5000 terawatt-hours, of which nuclear power supplied less than 2% (80 TWh). Electricity accounts for about one-third of total energy production. The world's per capita consumption reaches 2200 kWh in the mid-1990s. By region, disparities still reign: consumption stands at 13,000 kWh in North America, 5400 in Western Europe, 4200 in Eastern Europe, 1500 in Latin America, 1200 in South East Asia, 500 in Africa, and 500 in the Middle East and South Asia. Total electricity generation stands at about 13,000 TWh, with the share of nuclear approximately 2200 TWh, or 17%.
   
ARMS CONTROL
Global military spending is about US $800 billion. Before adoption of global nuclear test ban in 1996, seven more tests are carried out, raising the total reported since 1945 to more than 2040. Reductions in arms spending continue, but about 6000 strategic nuclear bombs remain in Russia and the USA. By July 1997, the number of States joining the NPT reaches 185, including 180 non-nuclear-weapon States and all five declared nuclear powers. Cutbacks in military spending yield a "peace dividend" in excess of US $900 billion, the UN reports, but whether surplus funds are being used for social and economic development is difficult to track. Countries spend US $836 billion (at 1995 prices) on arms and armed forces. The five declared nuclear-weapons States conduct 57 nuclear tests. By the end of the year, 70 non-nuclear-weapon States had become Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which had come into force in March 1970.