The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2014 and 2014 Deselect

  1. This study reports results from the laboratory analysis of ornamental plants sourced from garden centres, supermarkets and DIY-stores in ten European countries. The samples comprised more than 35 popular varieties like viola, bellflower and lavender which are attractive to bees. Overall, contamination with pesticides was found to be significant and relatively consistent across the samples as a whole. Of the 86 samples analysed, pesticide residues were found in 84 (97,6%) of these flowering plants. Only 2% of the samples contained no detectable residues. Insecticides regarded as of particular toxicological significance to bees were found frequently. In 68 of the 86 tested ornamental plants (79% of the samples) bee-harming pesticides were detected. The three neonicotinoid pesticides which have been restricted Europe-wide for certain agricultural uses in order to prevent exposure to bees were found in almost half of the samples: 43% of the samples contained Imidacloprid,8% Thiamethoxam and Clothianidin was found in 7% of the total, partly in high concentrations.

  2. On 31 March 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the second part of their fifth assessment report „Climate change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability“ in Yokohama. The focus of this second part lies on the effects that climate change has on the ecosystems of our planet, as well as on how humans, animals and plants can adapt.

  3. Sea-level rise not only affects settlement areas for large parts of the world population but also numerous sites of the UNESCO World Heritage. This is shown in a study by Ben Marzeion from the University of Innsbruck and Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, published on 5 March 2014 in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The UNESCO World Heritage List comprises a total of more than 700 cultural monuments. If global average temperature increases by just one degree Celsius, already more than 40 of these sites will directly be threatened by the water during the next 2000 years. With a temperature increase of three degrees, about one fifth of the cultural world heritage will be affected in the long term.

  4. on 27 February 2014 the Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released a joint publication that explains the clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change, and that addresses a variety of other key questions commonly asked about climate change science.

  5. On 20 February 2014, the third “World Ocean Review” (WOR 3) was presented to the public with the motto, »World Ocean Review 3 - Raw materials from the Sea - Opportunities and Risks. The WOR 3, published by the non-profit organization maribus gGmbH with the support of the magazine »mare«, the International Ocean Institute (IOI) and the Cluster of Excellence »The Future Ocean«, describes in detail the known metal and energy commodities in the oceans and illuminates in a scientifically sound and for the layman comprehensible manner the opportunities and risks of mining operations and the use of raw materials in the sea. The new report provides facts about the amount of known oil and gas reserves and the solid gas hydrate deposits below the seafloor. Furthermore, it elaborates on the potential of mineral resources such as manganese nodules, cobalt crusts and massive sulfides. In addition, the report focuses on the responsibility of the international community for environmentally sound exploitation and the international legal challenge for socially just distribution of resources in international waters.

  6. On 30 January 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis in its full and finalized form. The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group I assessment report was approved in September 2013 by the member governments of the IPCC meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, who also accepted the underlying report, after which the Summary for Policymakers was immediately made public.

  7. On 29 January 2014, a new online Atlas of freshwater biodiversity presenting spatial information and species distribution patterns was launched at the land-mark Water Lives symposium bringing together European Union policy makers and freshwater scientists. This new Atlas provides policy-makers, water managers and scientists with an online, open-access and interactive gateway to key geographical information and spatial data on freshwater biodiversity across different scales. The Atlas is a resource for better, evidenced-based decision making in the area of water policy, science and management. The online Atlas adopts a book-like structure allowing easy browsing through its four thematic chapters, on I) Patterns of freshwater biodiversity, 2) Freshwater resources and ecosystems, 3) Pressures on freshwater systems and 4) Conservation and management. All of the maps are accompanied by a short article with further contextual background information.