In the latest instalment of our visual series on topical data themes, we look at the latest IPCC report, the significant decline in US real yields and people’s live TV versus streaming habits.

Breaking news: Climate change is caused by humans

In early August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report1 on the current state of the climate. While there was little inherently new in the report, it marked a step change in the scientific community’s tone of voice. The report was far more forthright than previous releases in asserting the role of humans in warming the planet.

Figure 1 shows the change in the global surface temperature since 1850. Humanity’s contribution is clear. Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities were responsible for approximatively 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming from 1850 to 1900, and it is increasingly likely that we will be unable to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.

Figure 1: Global surface temperature change since 1850 (degrees Celsius)2
Global surface temperature change since 1850
Source: IPCC, 2021

Have US real yields hit record low?

On July 26, the real yields on ten-year treasuries sank to -1.127 per cent as concerns over the economic recovery grew, largely due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Figure 2, which shows the trend since 1997, highlights the significant fall during the financial crisis. However, this year’s was arguably even sharper.

The real yield measures the returns investors can expect from bonds once inflation is taken into account.

The worsening yield picture is a major headache for pension funds and other long-term investors looking to fixed income to hedge liabilities and mitigate inflation risk.

Figure 2: US real yields (per cent)
US real yields
Source: Eikon Datastream, data as of August 18, 2021

Is TV dead?

According to the latest Media Nations report, British viewers spent an average of five hours and 40 minutes a day watching content on a screen last year3 – 47 minutes more than the previous year. This is not a shock given that people were forced to stay at home for extended periods.

Perhaps more surprising is that live TV remains the favoured medium. Figure 3 shows that live broadcast TV was watched for over double the time spent watching streaming services.

However, looking at age demographics, those aged between 16-34 streamed around 90 minutes of content a day, with an additional 72 minutes spent on YouTube. Live TV broadcast, in contrast, accounted for 65 minutes a day.

Figure 3: Average estimated minutes of audiovisual viewing per day in UK4
Average estimated minutes of audiovisual viewing per day in UK
Source: Ofcom, 2021

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