The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2005 and 2005 Deselect

  1. On Sunday 11 December 2005, a series of explosions and subsequent fire destroyed large parts of the Buncefield oil storage and transfer depot, Hemel Hempstead, and caused widespread damage to neighbouring properties. The incident injured 43 people. There was significant damage to both commercial and residential properties near the Buncefield site. About 2000 people had to be evacuated from their homes and sections of the M1 motorway were closed. The fire burned for five days, destroying most of the site and emitting a large plume of smoke into the atmosphere that dispersed over southern England and beyond.

  2. The Eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 1)took place from 28 November to 9 December 2005 in Montreal, Canada. The Climate Change Conference resulted in the Montreal Action Plan, a roadmap to a post-2012 international climate regime. Some countries, for instance the United States and Australia, only accepted the FCCC but rejected the Kyoto Protocol. These states participated in the Montreal negotiations as observers. Following the Marrakesh Accords the Kyoto Protocol was fully implemented and equipped with a robust review regime. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was topped up with a further 7.7 million USD of funding, its organisation improved and institutional position strengthened. The summit also adopted the five-year programme of work on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.

  3. A serie of explosions at a chemical plant of the Jilin Petrochemical Company in Jilin City on 13 November 2005 resulted in the accidental release of benzene and benzene-like organic compounds, including nitrobenzene, into the Songhua River.

  4. The idea of the European Agro-Biodiversity Day (EAD) is to generate public and media attention for the importance of the conservation of the genetic diversity of livestock breeds and cultivated plants. The EAD will promote old and endangered breeds and varieties and their conservation with positive news and, at the same time, emphasise the urgency of conservation efforts. The EAD is always held on 29 September (St Michael's Day).

  5. PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

  6. The Act on Control of high-activity radioactive sources enters into force. It is the national implementation of Council Directive 2003/122/Euratom of 22 December 2003 on the control of high-activity sealed radioactive sources and orphan sources. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) maintains a centralized register.

  7. The eco-design of Energy using Products (EuP) Directive (2005/32/EC) became law in the European Union (EU) on the 11th of August 2005. The Directive establishes a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-using products.

  8. The act implementing Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise was passed. The act introduces noise mapping and actions plans pursuant to the directive. For this purpose, in future all major roads, major railways, major airports and agglomerations will be mapped and the public informed about the results. Based on these noise maps, noise action plans will be drawn up in consultation with the public in order to prevent or reduce environmental noise and to prevent an increase of noise in quiet areas.

  9. SEA (Directive 2001/42/EC) came into force in German law with the amendment of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) law (UVP-Gesetz) in June 2005.

  10. The dramatic and, in some cases, damaging environmental changes sweeping planet Earth are brought into sharp focus in a new atlas launched to mark World Environment Day (WED). Produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the atlas compares and contrasts spectacular satellite images of the past few decades with contemporary ones, some of which have never been seen before. It covers developments in the US, Argentinia, Spain, Israel, China, and many other countries.

  11. The deposit of untreated waste from human settlement has become illegal without any further exceptions. A transition period of twelve years terminated end of May. Within this period communities and disposal industries have prepared for the amendment of the waste deposit regulation.

  12. The atomic pile in Obrigheim has been shut down after 37 years of production time. Following Mühleim-Kärlich (2000) and Stade (2003) this is the third nuclear power plant that has been taken off the grid in continuation of the nuclear energy phase-out in Germany. Out of the 49 initially planned and 20 accredited plants 17 are still running.

  13. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay. 800 participants from 130 states established a review committee that will be responsible for evaluating additional chemicals that could be added to the treaty's initial list of 12 POPs ("the dirty dozen"). Four more chemicals have been proposed already. Target is phasing out of the production of these substances.

  14. A revised schedule for the phasing out of oil tankers and a new regulation banning the carriage of heavy grade oil in single-hull oil tankers enter into force on 5 April 2005. The measures were adopted in December 2003 as amendments to Annex I of the MARPOL Convention, following the November 2002 sinking of the oil tanker Prestige off the Spanish coast.

  15. The "Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act" (Act Governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment) enters into force. From March, 26, 2006 on consumers may return aged electrical and electronic equipment to municipal collection points free of charge. Producers will have to take care for the disposal of the collected equipment. Germany is one of the first EU member states that implements Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

  16. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'. The primary goal is to promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015.

  17. The new Flood Control Act entered into force on 10th May 2005. For the first time, the Flood Control Act lays down uniform and stringent legal provisions for the prevention of flood damage on a nationwide level. The Act is based on the Five-Point Programme which was presented by the German government immediately after the flood disaster of the Elbe river in the summer of 2002.

  18. For the first time a German town has reached the permissible impact of fine dust. In Munich the daily value exceeded 50 Micrograms for 35 times this year ? the limit value of the EC (Directive 1999/30/EC). A similar exceeding is expected for several other towns (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Hannover) in the near future. This has caused an extensive debate about counteractive measures.

  19. Under the Kyoto Protocol which had been adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period 2008-2012 to below 1990 levels.. In order to enter into force, the protocol had to be ratified by at least 55 countries with a combined emission of at least 55% of all industrial nations. The number of ratifying countries had been reached very early, but not the required share of emission. The US who is the major polluter had bailed out the protocol. Finally, in November 2004, Russia ratified as the 128th party which raised the emission share to 61.6%.

  20. A new Environmental Information Act enters into force. Citizens obtain considerably improved access to information on the environment. All public authorities of the federation as well as certain private institutions will be obliged to disclose information on the environment. The obligations of the state authorities will be regulated on the state level ? till then the EC Directive will be directly applicable. The federal administration is obliged to active disclosure of information more than before, increasingly by means of the Internet. The Environmental Information Act implements the amended Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information, as well as the Aarhus Convention.

  21. Fish of the Year 2005 is the Brown trout (Salmo trutta fario).

  22. Insect of the Year 2005 is the red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius).

  23. Flower of the Year 2005 is the Greater Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus angustifolius).

  24. Bird of the Year 2005 is the Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo bubo).

  25. Tree of the Year 2005 is the Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum).

  26. Vegetable of the Year 2005 is the Chicory (Cichorium intybus L. and Cichorium endivia L.).

  27. Poisonous plant of the year is the Monkshood (Aconitum napellus).

  28. The proclamtion of the Soil of the Year was made for the first time in 2005 on occasion of the World Soil Day. Soil of the Year 2005 was the Black Earth (Chernozem).

  29. The German Emissions Trading Office has been established at the Federal Environment Agency in Germany. The emissions trading system provides economic means reducing the emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. By this system each ton of CO2 obtains a commercial value which is ruled by the market. Consequently a reduction of emission will be implemented as cost-effective as possible. Emission trading stimulates investments in CO2-saving technology and a new market for traders of emission certificates, professional experts, and other service providers.