The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 1990 and 1999 Deselect

  1. 135,968 Berlin citizens sign BUND's petition against the Hamburg-Berlin monorail (Transrapid). With 122,910 valid signatures, the petition was a success, as the project has been dropped for political reasons.

  2. BUNDjugend, together with 135,000 schoolchildren, attempted to achieve the German government's 7 year climate targets within 7 months. The target and activities were devised by the Institute for Environmental Issues. The SPD and the Green Party also entered the challenge after the general election. BUNDjugend and the schoolchildren succeeded in showing that they could, without spending money, and against the resistance of other schoolchildren, teachers and the school board, make 10% energy savings. Their success was celebrated with a party promised by the government.

  3. The independent commission of experts presents the environment ministry with the draft of an environmental book of law.

  4. Environmental protection was made a formal goal of the European Union in the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam.

  5. Greenpeace members from Europe and the USA unfurl a banner on Tian an Men Square in Beijing, reading "Stop all atomic testing, stop atomic testing in China". They are arrested, interrogated and deported.

  6. Shell announces that it will not, after all, sink the defunct oil platform Brent Spar. Prominent artists, politicians of all parties and the Church in Germany had condemned Shell's plans. The multinational ignored the criticism, until a boycott of petrol stations forced it to give way. The Brent Spar remained at anchor in a Norwegian bay until the issue was resolved: the platform was cleaned up, its support cut into rings and dismantled completely. The rings were used to build a quay in the harbour near Stavanger in Norway.

  7. Despite worldwide protests, France restarts its atomic testing on Moruroa. When a Greenpeace ship enters the 12 mile exclusion zone, it is entered by French marines and confiscated. The ship's instruments are destroyed.

  8. During the Berlin Climate Conference, Greenpeace climbers occupy a chimney stack at an RWE coal-fired power station. An attempt to remove them fails. The pictures are broadcast live to the Conference.

  9. Greenpeace documents show that Russia has repeatedly broken the Moratorium on dumping atomic waste at sea, in force since 1983.

  10. Despite a ban, Norway still intends to harpoon whales. Greenpeace calls for a boycott of Norwegian products. Companies cancel contracts worth $45 million - many times the revenue from whaling.

  11. Greenpeace returns toxic waste from Rumania to Germany. To save face, the German government then recalls 425 t of German-produced pesticide waste.

  12. The FEA's plans provide for the first time for placing sustainability at the heart of domestic financial policy, using fiscal instruments.

  13. Greenpeace pursues the Japanese freighter "Akatsuki Maru", laden with 1.7 t plutonium, by ship and plane on its widely condemned journey from Cherbourg to Japan.

  14. Greenpeace takes one of its ships to the Kara Sea near Novaia Semlya, where atomic waste such as submarine atomic reactors is being sunk. The ship is fired upon and towed away by Russian marines. President Yeltsin promises a study of radiation in the frozen sea.

  15. The environment ministry sets up an independent commission to devise an environmental statute book.

  16. "Greenfreeze", the first CFC-free refrigerator, is presented to the world. It was developed and produced in cooperation between a scientist Hans Preisendans and the Saxon company dkk Scharfenstein (now Foron). The appliance uses natural gases (propane and butane) as coolants, which contributes to neither ozone depletion nor the greenhouse effect.

  17. In Bremen and Dover, activists prevent the transport of atomic waste to the British reprocessing plant in Sellafield. The environment ministers of the Länder are presented with radioactively contaminated sand.

  18. Starting in May Greenpeace frequently prevents the export of toxic waste from Germany to Rumania. Illegally stored waste in Rumania is returned to Germany.

  19. In Dordrecht in Holland, Greenpeace blocks track belonging to the world's largest producer of CFCs, DuPont.

  20. The Rainbow Warrior II makes its debut against French atomic testing. Shortly afterwards, President Mitterand abandons the tests.

  21. The BUND awards its first Poisoned figleaf, an award for companies who use pseudo-environmental arguments to fool customers.

  22. The German parliament authorises many major "reunification projects", aimed at providing the New Länder with Western standards of infrastructure. Alongside transport links between road, rail and waterways, projects plan the Transrapid monorail and creating a Federal Waterway.

  23. Expanding the Havel, Project 17 of the German Reunification Transport Projects, is part of 280 km of river and canal belonging to the planned Federal Waterway from Hanover to Berlin. The new ships which are to use the waterway are as large as the Rhine vessels. The Havel would need to be dug out to twice its current depth of 2 m, its banks extended and levelled. An action group against the project was formed on the initiative of BUND's working group on the Havel. It aims to prevent the loss of unique riverside landscapes and the overcapacity which would ensue, as three rail lines and a six-lane motorway will also be built in parallel.

  24. During talks with Greenpeace, representatives of Hoechst announce an end to their use of CFCs and any substitutes containing chlorine.

  25. In the Belgian harbour of Dunkirchen, Greenpeace succeeds in blocking a cargo of fuel rods from Germany's Unterweser nuclear power station, bound for the British reprocessing plant at Sellafield, for 18 hours.

  26. Greenpeace publishes the world's first magazine printed on chlorine-free paper: "Das Plagiat", an exact copy of the German current affairs magazine "Der Spiegel". The latter promptly copies its plagiariser and appears on chlorine free paper for the first time in November 1992. This represents the breakthrough for chlorine-free paper, which gradually becomes a printing standard.

  27. The incinerator ship "Vulcanus II" leaves Antwerp on its final journey, before the global ban on high sea incineration of toxic waste comes into force.

  28. To protest against Russian atomic tests on Novaia Semlya, Greenpeace sails into the arctic ice. The army storms the ship and seizes its crew. After four days of international protest, both are released again.

  29. The Greenpeace ship Beluga begins a two-month journey along the Elbe, to mount protests against river polluters in both West and East Germany.

  30. In the South Pacific, the Rainbow Warrior prevents Japanese and Taiwanese trawler fleets from casting their mile-long "wall of death". In the Summer, Japan announces an end to dragnet fishing in the South Pacific.

  31. On the basis of scientific research, some of it by the FEA, the government commits Germany to a reduction in greenhouse emissions of CO2 by 25% relative to 1990 by the year 2005, making Germany a global frontrunner in climate protection.

  32. East German environment offices are integrated into the West German structure. The FEA begins a detailed investigation of contaminated sites, for which the government makes funds available: for lignite mining alone some $750,000 between 1992 and 1997. A number of laws is harmonised without difficulty.