1. Medicinal Plant of the Year 2008 is the Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum).

  2. Fungus of the Year 2008 is the Boletus aereus.

  3. After the pilot phase, the second trading period in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) started on 1 January 2008, during which tighter national emissions budgets are valid throughout Europe. For Germany this now means a total of 453 million emissions allowances per year for the industrial and energy sectors. A certain percentage of allowances will no longer be allocated free of charge, due to be sold or auctioned instead (40 million per year).

  4. The internationally operating environmental foundation Global Nature Fund (GNF) proclaimed the Mahakam Wetland located in the Indonesian part of Borneo Threatened Lake of the Year 2008. Together with the partner organisation Conservation Foundation for Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia (RASI) GNF wants to draw the attention to the dramatic increase in deforestation caused by slash-and-burn clearing.

  5. Mollusc of the Year is the Myosotella myosotis, a species of salt marsh snail.

  6. Lichen of the Year is the wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina).

  7. Water plant of the year 2008 is the Eared watermoss (Salvinia natans).

  8. Insect of the Year 2008 is the Zygaena carniolica.

  9. Fish of the Year 2008 is the Bitterling (Rhodeus sericeus amarus).

  10. The ICRI International Year of the Reef 2008 is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them. All individuals, corporations, schools, governments, and organizations are welcome and actively encouraged to participate in IYOR 2008.

  11. The United Nations General Assembly in New York has proclaimed the year 2008 to be the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE). The Year's activities will actually span 2007-2009 and support research projects within defined themes focusing on Earth Sciences in the service of society.

  12. On 1 January 2008 the cities of Berlin, Cologne and Hanover introduced low emission zones to mitigate air pollution caused by fine particles. Low emission zones are identified by traffic signs and additional signs. The Thirty-fifth Ordinance on the Implementation of the Federal Immission Control Act (Ordinance on the marking of vehicles) stipulates that vehicles have to be marked with stickers (on the windscreen inside the vehicle) and lays down the criteria vehicles have to meet for the different kinds of stickers. Stickers are valid for all low emission zones in any city in Germany.

  13. The European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea) was nominated to the Frog of the Year 2008 by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT). The European Tree Frog is the best known frog species in Central Europe.

  14. Cactus of the year 2008 is the Golden Barrel Cactus, Golden Ball or, amusingly, Mother-in-Law's Cushion (Echinocactus grusonii).

  15. Cambisol or Arenosole is the soil of the year 2008.

  16. Moss of the Year is the Orthotrichum pulchellum.

  17. Perennial Herb of the Year is the Sneezeweed (Helenium).

  18. Algal researchers of the Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society have chosen the desmid Micrasterias as ‘Alga of the Year 2008’.

  19. Poisonous plant of the year 2008 is the Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).

  20. Medicinal Herb of the Year: English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  21. Bird of the Year 2008 is the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus).

  22. Tree of the Year: Common walnut (Juglans regia)

  23. Animal of the Year: Wisent or European bison (Bison bonasus).

  24. Flower of the year: Musk thistle or Nodding thistle (Carduus nutans)

  25. Orchid of the Year: Southern Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa)

  26. Spider of the Year 2010 is the Tegenaria atrica.

  27. Butterfly of the Year: Silver-studded Blue (Plebeius argus).

  28. The cargo ship Ice Prince, which was en route to Alexandria carrying more than 5,000 metric tonnes of sawn timber, made an emergency call to the coastguard on the evening of January 13 after getting into difficulties 27 miles off the Devon coast. It eventually sank 26 miles south south east off the coast of Portland Bill, Dorset, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Ice Prince had been carrying an estimated 313 metric tons of intermediate fuel oil and other lubricating oils in the engine spaces.

  29. In a ruling on 16 January 2008, the Criminal Court of Paris condemned the world's fourth largest oil group Total SA to a fine of €375,000 – the maximum allowable penalty for maritime pollution – claiming "ecological prejudice" caused by the sinking of the Erika. The case represents the first time that a French court has handed down a conviction for environmental damage and the landmark ruling could establish a legal precedent for suing companies or persons over major ecological disasters.

  30. Construction of Masdar City has now officially commenced with a formal ground-breaking ceremony on February 9, 2008. The City will be constructed over seven phases and is due to be completed by 2016. Masdar is a planned city in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster and Partners, the city will rely entirely on solar energy, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The initiative is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). The city will cost $US22 billion to build and be home to 50,000 people. The car-free city is intended to cover six square kilometers, with no point further than 200 m from a public transport link. Masdar will be the site of a university, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The project is supported by the global conservation charity World Wide Fund for Nature and the sustainability group BioRegional.

  31. The Blue Angel has stood for high standards in environmental protection for 30 years. It is an important instrument in achieving the goals set by the federal government in climate and resource protection. Its success and worth have high credibility among consumers, for 80 per cent of citizens in Germany recognise the Blue Angel, and many consumers use the environmental label for orientation when making daily purchases.

  32. On 26 February 2008 the Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened on a remote island in the Arctic Circle, receiving inaugural shipments of 100 million seeds that originated in over 100 countries. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections from around the globe. If seeds are lost, e.g. as a result of natural disasters, war or simply a lack of resources, the seed collections may be reestablished using seeds from Svalbard.

  33. The extraordinary warming along the Antarctic Peninsula has led in the past to the disintegration of seven ice shelves. The recent break-up of nearly 400km² happened between 28 and 29 Feb 2008 in less than 24 hours. Previous to that event, in July 2007 a rift of 52km length was formed, probably with the speed of sound in less than a minute. The central part of Wilkins ice shelf was formerly connected by a 20km wide bridge of 200-250m thick ice to two islands, which stabilised the whole ice shelf. This connection is now narrowed to only 6km. The fact that the remaining ice mass is already fractured, let us fear that the connection will soon disintegrate.

  34. For the third time since 1996, United States officials have flooded the Grand Canyon, in an effort to preserve local ecology and species. The water was released from the Glen Canyon Dam, which dams up the Colorado River and creates the reservoir Lake Powell. The ecosystem was altered when the Glen Canyon Dam was constructed in 1963. When the dam was opened Wednesday, March 5 for 60 hours the Grand Canyon Researchers hope the flood will help to restore Colorado River habitats for endangered species in the Grand Canyon. Subsequent scientists will document habitat changes.

  35. The International Polar Year 2007/08 was launched in March 2007, and will continue through early 2009. During this time, a regular sequence of International Polar Days will raise awareness and provide information about particular and timely aspects of the polar regions. March 12th, 2008 was the third International Polar Day - Changing Earth; Past and Present.

  36. On Sunday 16 March 2008, a pipe leak caused a spill of an estimated 400 tonnes of bunker fuel during the loading of a vessel at Donges Refinery, Loire-Atlantique, France.

  37. According to the UNEP-backed World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), data from nearly 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled. The centre, based at Switzerland's University of Zurich, has been tracking glaciers for more than one century, and has noted that while between 1980-1999 average ice loss had been 0.3 meters per year compared to 0.5 meters after the start of the new millennium.

  38. In late April and early May 2008 a bee mortality occurred in parts of South-West Germany, which affected approximately 11,000 colonies of bees. After this became known, an intensive search for the causes of these incidences was started. Soon, maize seeds which had been treated with the insecticidal substance clothianidin were suspected as a possible cause. In the meantime, a clothianidin poisoning has been confirmed by the Julius Kühn-Institute. It is assumed that the detected clothianidin originates from treated maize seeds where the active substance did not adhere well enough to the grains. This minor dressing quality led to a strong abrasion. In the Upper Rhine Valley pneumatic seeding machines with vacuum systems were employed, which, due to their construction, release abrasion dust into the air. This way the abrasion dusts could settle on blooming plants.

  39. The fourth amendment to the Genetic Engineering Act entered into force in April 2008.