1. Science, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has obtained exclusive data from NASA that indicates that 2009 was the hottest year on record south of the Equator. Southern Hemisphere temperatures can serve as a trailing indicator of global warming, says NASA mathematician Reto Ruedy of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, given that that part of the globe is mostly water, which warms more slowly and with less variability than land. Ruedy says 2009 temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were 0.49°C warmer than the period between 1951 and 1980. That makes 2009 the warmest year on record in that hemisphere.

  2. In 2009 renewable energies accounted for more than 10 percent of total heat, electricity and fuel consumption in Germany. This is the key finding of the report by the Working Group on Renewable Energies - Statistics (AGEE-Stat), which Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen presented on 24 March 2010 in Berlin. According to this report, not only was the renewables sector able to avoid the economic crisis to a large extent, it even increased its share in energy supply in Germany, and as a result of rising investments was able to record a further growth in employment figures. More than 300,000 people now work in this sector. While electricity generation from conventional energy forms decreased in 2009, renewables remained stable - their share in electricity consumption rose further to 16.1 percent. In comparison with the previous year there was also a significant increase in biogas, photovoltaic and wind-power installations. Investments in the renewables sector reached a record total of 17.7 billion euros. The number of employees rose once again. Over 300,000 people, around 8 percent more than in the previous year, found a relatively secure job in the renewables sector.

  3. Economic crisis causes biggest slump in emissions since foundation of the Federal Republic. According to initial calculations by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), total greenhouse gas emissions in Germany at the end of 2009 had declined by some 80 million tonnes (minus 8.4 percent) over 2008 levels. Since 1990 Germany had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 28.7 percent as of late 2009. The industrial sector and manufacturing industry produced 20 percent less emissions.

  4. At 55 percent of air measuring stations placed in urban areas in the vicinity of traffic, annual mean levels of nitrogen dioxide concentrations (NO2) in 2009 were above the 40 micrograms/cubic metre air (µg/m3) which is set as the cap as of 1.1.2010. Exceedences of threshold values occur primarily in cities and conurbations, that is, where the majority of the population resides. The main sources of nitrogen oxides are traffic emissions as well as industrial and household combustion processes. Particulate concentrations (PM10) in 2009 also rose above the statutory caps in place since 2005- despite measures taken at the federal, Laender and municipal levels. There were PM10 concentrations of 50 µg/m3 measured at 23 of the total 408 measuring stations in the network on more than 35 days. In general, particulate pollution was somewhat higher in 2009 compared to 2008, which was the year with the lowest levels of such pollution since 2000.

  5. 2009 is the year of biosphere reserves in Germany. The first German biosphere reserves – Vessertal and stretches of the Middle Elbe valley – were designated as long ago as 1979, only three years after the nomination of the first biosphere reserves in the world. The German biosphere reserves cover almost 3 % of the German land area. Biosphere reserve is a category in the German federal law for nature conservation. All 13 territories designated under German law are at the same time UNESCO biosphere reserves. The 13 territories represent important German habitats, typical types of landscape and the diversity of ecosystems, fauna and flora in this country.

  6. Operators subject to emissions trading in Germany emitted a total volume of 428.2 million tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2009. As compared to the previous year, emissions sank by 44.3 million tonnes CO2, or 9.4 percent, which is the lowest level since introduction of emissions trading in Europe in 2005. The installations engaged in emissions trading were thus responsible again in 2009 for the greatest absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. The emissions trading sector affirms the overall trend announced by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in early March 2010, according to which the financial and economic crisis has led to the steepest decline in climate gas emissions since the foundation of the Federal Republic. The greatest share in reduction within the emissions trading industry can also be traced to declines in production resulting from the economic downturn in 2009.

  7. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fibres.

  8. At the beginning of 2009, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is to take over responsibility for the Asse II mine.

  9. On 6 June 2008 the Bundestag adopted the Act on the promotion of renewable energies in the heat sector (“Erneuerbare-Energien-Wärmegesetz”). Owners of new buildings must cover part of their heat demand from renewable sources. All forms of renewables can be used. The Act will enter into force on 1 January 2009. All new buildings constructed after this date must comply with the Heat Act.

  10. Avenue of thr Year 2009 is a pear tree avenue in Lower Saxony (Bohnenburg/ Amt Neuhaus).

  11. German Mollusc of the Year is the Bythiospeum husmanni.

  12. Tree of the Year 2009 is the Acer pseudoplatanus.

  13. Algal researchers of the Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society have chosen the Emiliania huxleyi as ‘Alga of the Year 2009’.

  14. Soil of the Year is the Gleyic Fluvisols (calcaric).

  15. Fungus of the Year 2009 is the Pulcherricium caeruleum.

  16. Cave Animal of the Year 2009 is the Niphargus.

  17. Reptile of the Year: Dice snake(Natrix tessellata)

  18. Butterfly of the Year is the European Peacock butterfly ((Aglais io) or Peacock butterfly.

  19. The internationally operating environmental foundation Global Nature Fund (GNF) proclaimed the Lake Atitlán located in Guatemala Threatened Lake of the Year 2009.

  20. Bird of the Year 2009 is the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).

  21. Flower of the Year: Cichorium intybus (Common chicory)

  22. Laboratory Animal of the Year 2009 is the rabbit.

  23. Tetrahymena is the protozoa of the year 2009.

  24. Perennial Herb of the Year is the Plantain lily (Hosta).

  25. Poisonous Plant of the Year 2009 is the Nicotiana.

  26. Animal of the Year: West European Hedgehog or European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

  27. Insect of the Year: the Red-and-black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata)

  28. Medicinal Plant of the Year 2009 is the Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).

  29. Spider of the year is the Triangle Spider (Hyptiotes paradoxus).

  30. Pot Marigold or English Marigold (Calendula officinalis), named 2009 Medicinal Herb of the Year by the NHV Theophrastus.

  31. Water Plant of the Year 2009 is the Clasping-leaf Pondweed, Perfoliate Pondweed (Potamogeton perfoliatus).

  32. Fish of the Year is the European eel (Anguilla anguilla)

  33. Orchid of the Year: Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula)

  34. Endangered livestock breed of the year is the Alpine Stone Sheep.

  35. Nature park of the Year 2009 in North Rhine-Westphalia are the Nature Park "Teutoburger Wald / Eggegebirge" and the Nature Park "Rheinland".

  36. Moss of the Year is the White Moss (Leucobryum glaucum).

  37. Lichen of the Year is the Reindeer lichen (Cladonia rangiferina).

  38. American president George W. Bush designated nearly 500,000 square kilometre of the Pacific Ocean as conservation areas just two weeks before leaving the White House. The world's largest protected marine area encompass three distinct areas: the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific, a chain of remote islands in the central Pacific, and the Rose Atoll off American Samoa. The conservation plan will ban commercial fishing, mining and energy exploration within the protected areas.

  39. The Federal Environmental Agency, Dessau is one of the first buildings in Germany certified 'Gold' by the German Council for Sustainable Building (Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen / DGNB).