1. On the morning of 23 October 2009, an explosion rocked fuel storage tank facilities near San Juan, Puerto Rico with the same force as a 2.8-magnitude earthquake, according to the authorities. The fire that burned for several days, spewing thick, toxic smoke across the region and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate.

  2. The European Union has begun an investigation into Las Tablas De Daimiel National Park, Spain that is being devastated by underground fires. With less than 1% of the park now covered by water, layers of underground peat have dried out and have started to spontaneously ignite. EU inspectors will investigate how for decades Spanish authorities have allowed thousands of illegal wells to be dug near the park. The Tablas de Damiel were declared a National Park in 1973. In 1980 the national park was extended and UNESCO included Las Tablas in a biosphere reserve. In the 1982 Las Tablas were included on the list of the Ramsar Convention. In 1988 Las Tablas were declared a Special Protection Area (or SPA), a designation under the European Union directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

  3. Germany is in a position to save 43 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. This is the outcome of the Policy Scenarios V – towards a structural change; Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scenarios up to 2030 study, which commissioned by UBA to a research consortium associated with the Öko-Institut. By 2030, that figure could reach a nearly 60-percent reduction over 1990.

  4. The Maldives' government held an underwater cabinet meeting on 17 Oktober 2009 to draw attention to climate change while European leaders prepared for a week of climate talks ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December. President Mohamed Nasheed and members of his cabinet, in SCUBA gear, around a table 4 meters below the water's surface and signed a resolution calling for global action to cut carbon emissions.

  5. In the year 2009 two Right Livelihood Awards go to two men who fight climate change: The Honorary Award goes to David Suzuki (Canada) "for his lifetime advocacy of the socially responsible use of science, and for his massive contribution to raising awareness about the perils of climate change and building public support for policies to address it". René Ngongo (Democratic Republic of Congo) is honoured "for his courage in confronting the forces that are destroying the Congo's rainforests and building political support for their conservation and sustainable use".

  6. On 6 October 2009 the Federal Agency for Nature presented the new red list of vertebrates in Germany.

  7. A new report by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) which accounts for the emissions from renewable energy sources (Emissionsbilanz erneuerbarer Energieträger) concludes that roughly 106 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) were saved through the use of renewable energies in 2007. The report provides an account of renewable energy sources that has been updated in terms of method as well as content.

  8. On 5 October 2009 the Spanish Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs published in the Official State Bulletin a total prohibition on the catch of hammerhead and thresher sharks. The Ministerial Order will take effect on 1 January 2010. It will prohibit the catch of all hammerhead sharks and thresher sharks by all types of fishing gear used by the Spanish fleet. Transhipment, landing and commercialising these species will also be prohibited. Spain has become a pioneering country within the European Union by regulating its shark fisheries.

  9. The new German Energy Saving Ordinance 2009 came into force on 1 October 2009. The amendment of the Energy Saving Ordinance is a fundamental key element of the Integrated Energy and Climate Programme (Integriertes Energie- und Klimaprogramm - IEKP) of the government decided in December 2007. The changes affect primary energy requirement, thermal insulation for exterior building elements, heat transmission losses and the calculation procedure for residential buildings. The next adjustment of the German Energy Saving Ordinance is already planned for 2012 in accordance with the federal government’s so-called ‘Meseberg resolutions’ for integrated energy and climate policy.

  10. The Federal Environment Agency provides a new online service, which shows the annual average level of atmospheric particulates (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone pollution in Germany. The data in this geographic information system (GIS) provide a quick look at the regional distribution of air pollution in Germany, dating back to 2001. Site visitors can enhance the data on air with other geographical information about cities, rivers, and metropolitan areas, and by focusing on certain characteristics such as peak loads.

  11. In 2009, World Ecological Debt Day or Earth Overshoot Day falled on 25 September. Earth Overshoot Day shows the day on which our total Ecological Footprint (measured in global hectares) is equal to the biocapacity (also measured in global hectares) that nature can regenerate in that year.

  12. The tiny Pacific Ocean archipelago of Palau told the General Assembly on 25 September 2009 that it will create the world’s first shark sanctuary to protect endangered species by banning all commercial shark fishing within its territorial waters.

  13. On 17 September 2009 the world's largest offshore wind farm was inaugurated in the North Sea off the west coast of Denmark by Crown Prince Frederik. The Horns Rev 2 wind farm's 91 turbines covers an area of some 35 square kilometres and can produce enough electricity to supply 200,000 homes a year. It is expected to generate 210 megawatts of electricity each year and is the largest offshore wind farm in terms of capacity and the number of turbines used. It is the first of its kind to be equipped with a platform where personnel can spend the night.

  14. Mediterranean countries have rejected a call by the European Union's executive and northern EU states to ban fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna until the over-exploited population has recovered. On 21 September Spain, Italy, France, Cyprus, Greece and Malta rejected the proposal to list the bluefin tuna under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

  15. The Climate Change Science Compendium is a review of some 400 major scientific contributions to our understanding of Earth Systems and climate that have been released through peer-reviewed literature or from research institutions over the last three years, since the close of research for consideration by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

  16. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a major worldwide tree planting campaign in 2006. Under The Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments are encouraged to enter tree planting pledges online with the objective of planting at least one billion trees worldwide each year. The Billion Tree Campaign has reached 7 billion trees - one for every person on the planet. The milestone was reached with the news that the Government of China has planted 2.6 billion trees as part of this unique campaign, bringing the total to 7.3 billion trees planted in 167 countries worldwide. The announcement was made in New York on 21 September at a press conference attended by international dignitaries, including Campaign Patrons Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert II of Monaco, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

  17. The Federal Environment Agency has initiated an event billed as Natural Resources Day whose motto is “Factor X: Beyond Climate Change“, which is scheduled to take place for the first time on 16 September 2009 in Berlin as a side event to the World Resources Forum 2009 taking place in Davos. This international platform will also convene for the first time and seeks to bridge the gap between science and the economy. The objective of both events is to draw attention to the intelligent economical use and sustainable management of natural resources.

  18. Representatives from 11 countries met in Bonn, Germany, from 16-18 September under the auspices of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS). Supported in its deliberations by several international and nongovernmental organizations dealing with marine conservation, the meeting agreed a number of measures to protect and enhance populations of small whales and dolphins in these European waters. A new strategy for the future prioritises activities focusing on the key threats to small cetaceans, namely bycatch (the incidental capture of animals by fishing activities) and disturbance by noise.

  19. The Council adopted a directive improving current rules on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements (3664/09)on 14 September 2009. The new provisions aim at improving maritime safety and enhancing protection of the marine environment from pollution by ships.

  20. On September 12, 2009 sea ice extent dropped to 5.10 million square kilometers. This appears to have been the lowest point of the year, as sea ice has now begun its annual cycle of growth in response to autumn cooling. The 2009 minimum is the third-lowest recorded since 1979, 580,000 square kilometers above 2008 and 970,000 square kilometers above the record low in 2007. The 2009 minimum is 1.61 million square kilometers below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum and 1.28 million square kilometers below the thirty-year 1979 to 2008 average minimum.

  21. 10 September, 2009/ Brussels: The European Commission put forward a blueprint for scaling up international finance to help developing countries combat climate change. This initiative aims to maximise the chances of concluding an ambitious global climate change agreement at the December U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen. By 2020 developing countries are likely to face annual costs of around €100 billion to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Much of the finance needed will have to come from domestic sources and an expanded international carbon market, but international public financing of some €22-50 billion a year is also likely to be necessary. The Commission proposes that industrialised nations and economically more advanced developing countries should provide this public financing in line with their responsibility for emissions and ability to pay. This could mean an EU contribution of some €2-15 billion a year by 2020, assuming an ambitious agreement is reached in Copenhagen.

  22. The Clean Tech Media Awards were presented in Berlin in four categories, including Technology, Sustainability, Culture & Media, and for the first time, Young Research Talent. The 2009 edition honored the most energy efficient office building of the world, an innovative hybrid power station, trail-blazing research about silicium production for solar cells, and the world's largest climate change 'edutainment' park. A special award was given to the DESERTEC Foundation, an initiative of leading German corporations which support the idea to produce solar power in the desert regions of Africa.

  23. A multimillion dollar appeal to save the Mau Forests Complex has been launched by the Government of Kenya at a Partners Forum hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The appeal aims to mobilize resources for the rehabilitation of the Mau, the largest closed-canopy forest ecosystem in Kenya covering over 400,000 hectares - the size of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares combined.

  24. Some 50,000 anti-nuclear protestors demonstrated in Berlin on 05 September 2009 against Germany possibly reversing a decision to abandon atomic energy and extending the life of its nuclear power plants. The protest included a group of farmers from Lower Saxony who have driven their tractors from the nuclear waste sites at Gorleben and Wolfenbüttel to the capital.

  25. World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), which has brought together from 31 August to 4 September 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, more than 2 000 climate scientists, sectoral experts and decision-makers established on 3 September a Global Framework for Climate Services “to strengthen production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services.”

  26. The Fahrtziel Natur, or "Destination Nature", Award 2009, was granted in Düsseldorf for the first time on 3 September 2009. This prize has gone to the Nationalpark- und Naturparkregion Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian Forest) for its Igelbusse/Bayernwald Ticket project. The award-winning project is exemplary in its cross-linkage and optimisation of sustainable mobility for the tourism sector. The Fahrtziel Natur Award was initiated by Fahrtziel Natur, a cooperation of Deutsche Bahn and the environmental organisations BUND, NABU and Verkehrsclub Deutschland.

  27. The major research project BIOACID (Biological Impacts of Ocean ACIDification) started on 1 September 2009. It is a joint project which examines the repercussions of oceanic acidification on marine biological communities. The effects of oceanic acidification on lime formation, and growth and development of marine organisms will be examined in an interdisciplinary collaboration within the framework of BIOACID. The project is funded with 8.500.000 Euros by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with the participation of 14 German research institutes and universities. The project is headed by the Leibnitz Institute of Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) in Kiel. The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association is responsible as deputy for the coordination and receives 2.9 million Euros of project funds.

  28. The European Union ban on the manufacture and import of 100 watt and above light bulbs has come into force.

  29. The Third World Climate Conference (WCC-3) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 August to 4 September 2009. It was organised by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Council for Science and other intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. The WCC-3 decided to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), a UN-led initiative spearheaded by WMO to guide the development and application of science-based climate information and services in support of decision-making. The GFCS has four initial priority sectors: agriculture and food security, water, health and disaster risk reduction.

  30. The Asse nuclear waste disposal site formerly run by Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen GmbH contains three times as much toxic plutonium as previously reported, the Environment Ministry said on 29 August 2009. A review of records at Helmholtz’s Munich headquarters shows 28 kilograms of plutonium stored at the underground dump in Lower Saxony, rather than the 9 kilograms previously recorded.

  31. The Turkish-flagged bulk carrier Gulser Ana run aground off the coast of Madagascar (Faux Cap/ Cap Sainte Marie). The MS Gulser Ana, which was bound for India with a cargo of 39,000 tonnes of phosphates, has leaked several hundred cubic metres of diesel and oil, as well as its cargo, since running into trouble on 26 August, 2009. The fuel spill polluted several kilometres of coastline in an area renowned for its biodiversity and rich coral reefs.

  32. Greenpeace activists displayed a large slogan at the Gorner glacier at 2,600 meters above sea level in Zermatt, Switzerland on 25 August, 2009. Greenpeace demands more leadership from the governments of the western countries and a more active part towards the protection of the world climate.

  33. Based on current reduction targets, the world’s largest companies are on track to reach the scientifically-recommended level of greenhouse gas cuts by 2089 – 39 years too late to avoid dangerous climate change, reveals a research report – The Carbon Chasm – released by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). It shows that the Global 100 are currently on track for an annual reduction of just 1.9% per annum which is below the 3.9% needed in order to cut emissions in developed economies by 80% in 2050. According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), developed economies must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

  34. On 24 August 2009 the Biomass-electricity-sustainability ordinance entered into force in Germany. This ordinance is intended to ensure that in future all biomass used for electric power generation is produced in compliance with binding sustainability criteria. Proof of sustainability will, from 1 January 2010, be a necessary prerequisite to receive the basic remuneration and bonuses under the Renewable Energies Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz - EEG).

  35. The Commission Directive laying down, pursuant to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring of water status has been adopted and enters into force on 21 August 2009. The objective of this Directive is to establish common quality rules for chemical analysis and monitoring of water, sediment and biota carried out by Member States. The Directive shall be transposed within 2 years from entry into force.

  36. On 21 August 2009, the Montara offshore oil platform in the Timor Sea (a large sea bordering the Indian Ocean, to the northeast of Australia) started leaking oil. Over a period of ten weeks, more than two million litres of oil were lost into the sea, forming a 2000 square kilometre slick. The oil well was closed at the beginning of November, stopping the flow of oil into the sea.

  37. Germany's largest solar park was inaugurated on 20 August 2009 on the site of a former Soviet military training ground in the east of the country. The Lieberose Solar Park north of Cottbus (Brandenburg) covers 162 hectares (400 acres), the equivalent of more than 210 football pitches.

  38. The highest elevation flowering plant ever recorded in Europe, a lush moss flora, one of the coldest places of permanent animal life (collembola, mites) and indications of mycorrhizal fungi were evidenced for the Dom summit (4,545 m, central Swiss Alps) between solid siliceous rock at 4,505–4,543 m, 46° N. Cushions of Saxifraga oppositifolia were found at 4,505 to 4,507 m a.s.l. A large individual (possibly >30 years old) was in full bloom on 12 August 2009.

  39. Using NASA satellite data, scientists have found that groundwater levels in aquifers in areas of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and the nation's capitol territory of Delhi (northern India) have been declining by as much as one foot per year over the past decade. More than 109 km³ of groundwater disappeared between 2002 and 2008 -- double the capacity of India's largest surface water reservoir, the Upper Wainganga. A team of hydrologists led by Matt Rodell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., found that northern India's underground water supply is being pumped and consumed by human activities, such as irrigating cropland, and is draining aquifers faster than natural processes can replenish them. The results of this research were published on 12 August 2009 in Nature. The finding is based on data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a pair of satellites that sense changes in Earth's gravity field and associated mass distribution, including water masses stored above or below Earth's surface. GRACE is a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR. GRACE was launched in 2002.

  40. The environmental group Greenpeace dropped boulders into the Kattegatt, the strait between Sweden and Denmark, on 10 August 2009 to fight 'bottom trawling' with nets that rake the seabed.