Sustainability stats: This week in numbers

As we edge closer to the climate conference in Paris, this week saw a clash of horns over the energy we use. But that hasn't stopped some truly innovative green developments popping up across the globe, from Delhi to... Barnsley.

President Obama took a three-day pit stop in Alaska to warn people that the Washington Monument was melting. While the actual Monument is safe and sound in America, Obama visited the Seward glacier where ice blocks four times the size of the monument have disappeared over the past year.

While Obama was highlighting the effects of climate change in Alaska, the World Resources Institute warned that 350 million people in the Middle East could suffer as water scarcity hits our not-so-watery shores in 2040. A total of 33 countries could be severely at risk from a lack of water by 2040.

And it’s not just a lack of water that will be a hot topic in Paris in December. New research found that humans are removing 15 billion trees a year as deforestation continues to release carbon emissions into out atmosphere – that’s the equivalent of two Portugal’s worth of landmass.

Meanwhile, fossil fuel giants were made to sweat as another new report revealed the extent to which the cost of renewables has tumbled over the past five years – the gap between renewables and fossil fuels is now closer to £100Mwh, with renewables actually already proven to be cheaper in some areas.

That good news hasn’t stopped a few scuffles in the renewables camp though, as the debate over offshore and onshore energy rages on. One study concluded that onshore could be as cheap as gas by 2020, despite the UK Government announcing plans to end the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy for onshore wind from March next year.

Despite the UK’s seeming reluctance to jump aboard the clean energy train, India seems to be embracing the green revolution, with the government announcing plans to change every lightbulb in Delhi with more sustainable LED bulbs.

Finally, we move from Delhi to Barnsley as the local council has decided to stick solar panels onto the roofs of 5,000 buildings in an eye-catching scheme worth £10m.

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

Matt Mace

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