Sustainability stats: This week in numbers

This week in sustainability has seen some major political announcements across the globe, big news involving the Amazon rainforest and recycling initiatives taking centre stage.

On the innovation front, scientists have discovered a new process that could convert atmospheric CO2 into valuable carbon nanofibres. Researchers from George Washington University claim their innovation could help tackle climate change while also producing a material which can be used to make strong carbon composites.

Meanwhile, the UK’s anaerobic digestion industry is well and truly booming. This week saw the industry pass a huge milestone, with its capacity now matching an entire nuclear power station. There are now 411 stations across farming, waste and water sectors creating a huge 500MW capacity.

Wales sit proudly atop of the UK’s recycling league, and a closing in on 3rd position in Europe. They announced that recycling and composting rate for the past year has reached 56% – a 2% climb from 2013, saving them £80m in the process.

The Welsh weren’t the only ones busy recycling this week, as preparations for the Notting Hill Carnival are well under way. Westminster City Council reckon you could travel 84km on a tube train if all the waste they collect gets put to good use. The cleaners are expecting to collect 200 tonnes of waste in the early hours of Tuesday morning. To put that into perspective that’s like having 80 rhinos run amok down the streets of London.

Over in America, the US Navy is taking the tactical decision to invade the desert. A 20-year deal has been struck for the Navy to purchase solar power from the 650,000 solar panels currently catching the rays in the sweltering desert heat.

The Mesquite Solar 3 project, which will begin construction this month, will provide one third of the power required by 14 US naval facilities in California.

Germany recently returned to the site of their famous World Cup win as Chancellor Angela Merkel took a state visit to Brazil. Germany has pledged €550m to help Brazil’s deforestation and energy efficiency programmes as part of a new climate change agreement between the two countries.

We stay in Brazil for our last week in numbers story. Researchers in Brazil have finished constructing a 325-metre high tower that will analyse the Amazon rainforest’s gas emissions, to help understand climate change.

The building is taller than the Eiffel Tower and will provide analysis to help us understand just how important out rainforests are in the fight against climate change.

See the headline stats below, and click on the pictures to get the full story.

Matt Mace

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