The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2002 and 2002 Deselect

  1. On Saturday 14 December 2002 at around 2.30 am, the Tricolor, a car carrier collided with the container ship the Kariba. The Tricolor sank 30 m deep in a matter of minutes, in the Pas-de-Calais, 20 miles northwest of Dunkirk. She was transporting 2,862 new cars and 77 containers. The Tricolor was transporting 1,990 tonnes of Intermediate Fuel Oil, 200 m³ of diesel oil and 25 tonnes of lubricating oil. The wreck represented a risk for navigation and a potential source of pollution.

  2. The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 8) took place from 23 October to 1 November 2002 in New Delhi, India. The Climate Change Conference took on a bridging function. Negotiations on the details of the Kyoto Protocol were essentially complete and it was expected to enter into force the following year. However negotiations on a second commitment period were deferred until the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. For this reason, COP 8 held initial talks with key countries such as Brazil, India and China on the options regarding fair commitments for developing countries. However, these talks only took place on an informal level. Besides this political discussion, decisions were taken on the design of the Clean Development Mechanism and the use of funds provided by industrialised countries for climate action in developing countries. In addition the New Delhi summit also discussed new guidelines on the national reports to be drawn up by developing countries, and agreed on a work programme aimed at raising awareness of climate issues and anchoring them more firmly in the Parties' educational programmes.

  3. The Wadden Sea has been designated as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). A PSSA is an area that needs special protection through action by the IMO because of its significance for recognized ecological, socio-economic or scientific reasons, and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities. The PSSA concept offers the opportunity to enable the development of common jurisdictional and enforcement regimes for environmentally significant marine areas. The value of designating a PSSA is an opportunity for coastal states to utilize more effectively their existing powers to regulate the passage of ships through the territorial sea

  4. The Day of the Geotope was organized on 6 October 2002. The main target group was the public which normally have little to do with geosciences. Due to the positive resonance it was decided to have the Day of the Geotope every year in September.

  5. Sponsored by the European Commission, European Mobility Week takes place annually from 16 to 22 September, culminating in the "In town without my car!" day (car-free day). The aim is to promote sustainable transport and heighten public awareness of the negative impact present-day mobility habits are having on our environment and quality of life.

  6. The main result of the so far largest conference of the United Nations was to mark the future path to sustainable development by new priorities, targets and programmes. Important new targets were established, such as: to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015; to use and produce chemicals by 2020 in ways that do not lead to significant adverse effects on human health and the environment; to maintain or restore depleted fish stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield on an urgent basis and where possible by 2015; and to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity.

  7. During the first 13 days of August 2002 extraordinary heavy rains fell in parts of Central Europe, causing disastrous flooding along the rivers Elbe and Danube and severe damage totalling an estimated 30 000 million US $. 450 000 people were evacuated and more than 100 lost their lives. In the first 5 days of August heavy thunderstorms developing in warm moist air affected northern Germany. On 1 August, some stations reported the highest 24-hour rainfall on record (Cuxhaven 63,6 mm), and regionally, the precipitation totals of 2 days exceeded the monthly normals by 50 %.

  8. The Landfill Ordinance contains detailed technical, operational and organisational requirements for the construction, state, operation, decommissioning, and aftercare of landfills and long-time deposits. These requirements are legally binding to each operator. Ecologically insufficient facilities must not be operated from 2009 on. The target is to restrict the quantities and their toxic content to some justifiable limit according to environment and health. Jointly with the waste deposit regulation of 2001, which requires a pre-treatment of the waste to be deposited, the landfill ordinance implements the Council Directive on the landfill of waste (1999/31/EC).

  9. The Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC came into force on 18 July 2002.

  10. Owners of cars may return their scrapped vehicles to manufacturers or importers free of charge from now on. Following the new law, this is only valid for vehicles which have been licensed after the law has entered into force. Cars already in use before may be returned free of charge only from 2007 on. Germany is the first member state of the EC to convert the European directive on end-of-life vehicles (2000/53/EG) into national law.

  11. The amendment of the Act on Managing Water Resources implements the EU Water Framework Directive. In particular the access to sustainable management of water resources across national boundaries has been anchored legally. Target is that all waters will gain a good state till 2015, not only concerning pollutants, but also the native flora and fauna. For that purpose management plans have to be elaborated till 2009.

  12. The German "Act on the structured phase-out of the utilisation of nuclear energy for the commercial generation of electricity" makes fundamental amendments to the 1959 Atomic Energy Act: Instead of aiming to promote nuclear energy, the purpose of the act now is to phase out its use in a structured manner. Among the key points of the amendment is the ban on constructing new commercial nuclear power plants and the restriction of the residual operating life of existing nuclear power plants to 32 years from the time of the plant's start up. The new Act lays down a maximum permitted residual electricity volume for each individual nuclear power plant.

  13. On 17 April 2002, the German government adopted the national sustainability strategy "Perspectives for Germany - Our Strategy for Sustainable Development".

  14. Germany's new Nature Conservation Act, which replaces the old law of 1976, strengthens the country's nature conservation associations. Another important amendment is the introduction of a biotope network. Isolated nature reserves, at present small oases in a heavily-populated industrial nation, are to be expanded and linked with others. Each of Germany's 16 federal states must make available at least 10 per cent of its land area for that purpose.

  15. Perennial Herb of the Year is the bellflower (Campanula).

  16. Animal of the Year: Red Deer (Cervus elaphus).

  17. Spider of the Year: Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis).

  18. Vegetable of the Year 2002: Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria).

  19. Orchid of the Year: Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis).

  20. Insect of the Year 2002 is the Brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni L.).

  21. Fungus of the Year 2002 is the Sorrel Webcap mushroom (Cortinarius orellanus).

  22. Bird of the Year 2002 is the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

  23. Fish of the Year 2002 is the Burbot (Lota lota L.).

  24. Flower of the Year 2002 is the Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana).

  25. Tree of the Year 2002 is the Common Juniper (Juniperus communis).

  26. The United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution A/RES/53/200, proclaimed the year 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism.

  27. The UN General Assembly declared the year 2002 as the International Year of the Mountains (IYM) in order to increase international awareness of the global importance of mountain ecosystems. Throughout the year, people all over the world will participate in events to celebrate mountains and discuss ways to promote their conservation and sustainable development.