For half a century cardiovascular disease has been the largest killer in Western countries, but recently it has started to dominate the health statistics in the South as well. In India coronary heart disease is already the biggest killer, and strokes are about to rise to second place. Globally, cardiovascular disease now kills about 17 million people a year, and a growing number of people are having heart attacks or strokes as early as their 40s or 50s.
The U.S. oil geologist Marion King Hubbert predicted, already in 1956, that the global production of oil will reach its all-time high roughly when we have used one half of the world's oil reserves. This is because geologists tend to find the biggest fields first, and because oil wells become tired during the production phase. The more is taken out, the more difficult it gets to bring the remaining oil to the surface.
In the 1970s Japan, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China were all developing major breeder reactor programmes. Breeder reactors are nuclear power plants that produce more nuclear fuel than they consume generating electricity.
The year 2010 has, like previous years, produced an impressive array of climate-related news, much probably related to global warming. Numerous global and national heat records have been broken: 37.2 degrees Celsius in Finland, 35 degrees in Yakutia, and 54 degrees in Pakistan. Forest and peat fires have done enormous damage in Russia, and Pakistan has been swept by floods and mudslides. A huge ice floe broke free from the Petermann Glacier in northwest Greenland, and the extent of marine ice in the Arctic Ocean is the second smallest ever recorded, in spite of a cool and cloudy July. Such news becomes even more worrying when viewed in a slightly longer perspective.