1. The Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) held intersessional informal consultations from 10 to 14 August 2009. The meetings are taking place at the Hotel Maritim in Bonn, Germany.

  2. The WWF report The Eastern Himalayas – Where Worlds Collide details discoveries made by scientists from various organizations between 1998 and 2008 in a region reaching across Bhutan and north-east India to the far north of Myanmar as well as Nepal and southern parts of Tibet Autonomus Region (China). Eastern Himalayas- Where Worlds Collide describes more than 350 new species discovered - including 244 plants, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, 2 birds, 2 mammals and at least 60 new invertebrates.

  3. The Federal Government has adopted an National Development Plan for Electric Mobility. The goal of the National Development Plan for Electric Mobility is to advance research and development, market preparation for and introduction of batterypowered vehicles in Germany.

  4. The French government has declared an "ecological disaster" in one of Europe's most unique and beautiful nature reserves after an oil spill from an underground pipeline spread over acres of pristine habitat. More than 4,000 cubic metres of crude burst into the Coussouls de Crau in southern France on 7 August 2009. The broken pipe is operated by the European company SPSE. Situated on the edge of the Camargue national park, the Coussouls de Crau has a reputation for being as important a refuge for the rare birds of Europe and northern Africa as its celebrated neighbour is for the region's wild bulls and horses.

  5. The Federal Cabinet has nominated Jochen Flasbarth as the new President of the Federal Environment Agency. Flasbarth, 47, will succeed Prof. Dr. Andreas Troge, who retired at the end of July. Flasbarth will assume his new duties at the Agency upon signature of the letter of appointment by the Federal President.

  6. On 3 August 2009 the EU Member States of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) nominated for the second time substances of very high concern for authorisation according to REACH. 14 proposals were submitted this year, of which five are from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The UBA has submitted a proposal to the EU to include five anthracene oils as subject to authorisation. Anthracene oils extracted from black coal are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. As a rule PAHs persist in the environment, bioaccumulate, and are toxic. As a rule PAHs persist in the environment, bioaccumulate, and are toxic.

  7. A study released by the environmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on 3 August 2009 says that people living in Germany use 159,5 billion cubic meters of water each year. However, not quite half of that, about 79.5 billion cubic meters, is water that is not consumed directly, but "virtually", i.e. in the production of agricultural and industrial goods the country imports. While direct consumption of water has decreased significantly to 124 liters per person per day in Germany, the indirect consumption now stands at around 5.288 liters per person per day, according to the study. That's the amount one person would use to take 25 baths in a single day.

  8. The vessel Full City was leaking diesel oil into the surrounding coastal areas. The spill is threatening the southern Norwegian coast, home to protected seabird colonies. According to the WWF, the accident took place close to the Lille Sastein bird sanctuary.

  9. A Panama-registered cargo ship was leaking oil after running aground off Norway's south coast on 31 July 2009. The Full City was carrying 1100 tonnes of oil. Regional authorities in the southern province of Telemark said diesel spilling from the Full City was approaching the town of Langesund.

  10. In August and September 2008, Greenpeace sunk 320 boulders in the Sylt Outer Reef off the northern coast of Germany, a Natura 2000 site, which was being damaged by bottom trawling. The boulders have since prevented trawlers from fishing the reef. Indenpent experts say the boulders have already been colonized by a wealth of marine life.

  11. On 24 July 2009 the Emsland reactor in northwest Germany underwent an automatic shutdown at 3:08 a.m. (0100 GMT).

  12. Block 2 of the Philippsburg nuclear power station (KKP 2) is to be shut down by its operator, EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK), on 24 July 2009. The reason for this is the security-focused behaviour of EnBW. After the power plant is shut down, oil samples are to be taken from the insulating candles in the generator transformers area. This is not possible when the plant is in full operation.

  13. Radioactive brine has been found at the salt-mine nuclear waste storage facility in Asse, Lower Saxony, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) confirmed on 15 July 2009. A routine check turned up the contaminated liquid at depths of 950 and 925-metres deep, the BfS said, adding that the level of contamination remains below levels allowed by the Radiation Protection Ordinance.

  14. Pakistan sets a Guinness World Record for planting 541,176 trees in 24 hours. The young mangrove saplings were planted by 300 volunteers on 15 July without using any mechanical equipment in the vast wetlands of the Indus River Delta in Thatta District. The tree-planting took place some 150 kilometers southeast of Karachi in a biodiversity sanctuary that was designated in 2002 by the government as the Wetland of International Importance.

  15. On 13 July 2009 twelve European companies signed an agreement in Munich for a solar energy project. The firms grouped under The Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII)plan to build solar power generators in North Africa and the Middle East to produce energy for Europe. The massive project will see investments of up to 400 billion euros over a period of 40 years.

  16. Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the final Bundesrat endorsement of the environmental law reform. For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany uniform nature conservation and water management legislation will come into force which will be directly applicable in the whole country. New regulations on protection from non-ionising radiation will now also enter into force.

  17. Residents of the Australian town Bundanoon voted to ban the sale of bottled water on 8 July 2009. It was the second blow to Australia's beverage industry in one day: The New South Wales state premier banned all state departments and agencies from buying bottled water, calling it a waste of money and natural resources.

  18. At the L'Aquila summit both the G8 countries and the group of the 16 major developed and emerging countries (Major Economies Forum, MEF) committed themselves to international climate protection. MEF countries produce about 80 percent of the annually emitted greenhouse gases. The pledge of both groups of countries to limit the average temperature increase to less than 2 degrees based on pre-industrialisation reference levels is a substantial success. In the fight against climate change the G8 thus again assume a frontrunner role by setting a greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 80 percent by 2050 for developed countries.

  19. Arctic sea ice thinned dramatically between the winters of 2004 and 2008, with thin seasonal ice replacing thick older ice as the dominant type for the first time on record. The new results, based on data from a NASA Earth-orbiting spacecraft, provide further evidence for the rapid, ongoing transformation of the Arctic's ice cover. Using ICESat measurements, scientists found that overall Arctic sea ice thinned about 0.17 meters (7 inches) a year, for a total of 0.68 meters (2.2 feet) over four winters. The total area covered by the thicker, older "multi-year" ice that has survived one or more summers shrank by 42 percent.

  20. The path in the Municipal Forest of Baden-Baden which was opened in the summer of 2009 is the first Lynx Path in Germany. It leads through woodlands in which the lynx would feel very much at home. The objective of the Baden-Baden Lynx Path is to inform about the way of life of the lynx, to reduce fear and prejudice and to promote the acceptance of lynxes. The idea of a Lynx Path was first conceived by the NABU Baden-Württemberg. The implementation was shared with the City of Baden-Baden and the Nature Park Back Forest Centre/North.

  21. Activists of the environmental organisation Greenpeace protest with a banner reading "Nuclear Power Station (AKW) Kruemmel closed because of unreliability of Vattenfall" in front of the access gate of the German atomic power plant Kruemmel in Geesthacht, northern Germany on July 6, 2009.

  22. The nuclear power plant at Kruemmel, near Hamburg, shut down automatically on 4 July 2009 following a short-circuit in a transformer. The plant had reopened only last month after a two-year closure that followed a fire in another transformer in 2007.

  23. NASA and Japan released a new digital topographic map of Earth that covers more of our planet than ever before. The map was produced with detailed measurements from NASA's Terra spacecraft. The new global digital elevation model of Earth was created from nearly 1.3 million individual stereo-pair images collected by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or Aster, instrument aboard Terra. NASA and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, known as METI, developed the data set. It is available online to users everywhere at no cost.

  24. The capital of the United Arab Emirates beat Bonn and Vienna when representatives from 129 countries met in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh on 29 June 2009 to decide where the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) would be based. Members of the agency decided to place an innovation and technology center in Bonn, the Austrian city of Vienna will be home to an office dedicated to liaising with the United Nations and other international institutions.

  25. The US House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 on 26 June 2009. It was passed by a narrow margin of 219 votes to 212.

  26. Sweden is developing standards to help consumers make conscious choices about the impact of their decisions on global warming. Products with at least 25% greenhouse gas savings will be marked in each food category, starting with plant production, dairy and fish products. The label is a joint initiative by the Federation of Swedish Farmers, two food labelling organisations and various dairy and meat co-operatives. Criteria for plant production, dairy and fish were launched on 26 June. Standards for other product categories will follow in October.

  27. The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the Wadden Sea on the World Heritage List as a transboundary property for Germany and the Netherlands. The Wadden Sea comprises the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area and the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. It is a large temperate, relatively flat coastal wetland environment, formed by the intricate interactions between physical and biological factors that have given rise to a multitude of transitional habitats with tidal channels, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes. The inscribed site represents over 66% of the whole Wadden Sea and is home to numerous plant and animal species, including marine mammals such as the harbour seal, grey seal and harbour porpoise. It is also a breeding and wintering area for up to 12 millions birds per annum and it supports more than 10 percent of 29 species. The site is one of the last remaining natural, large-scale, intertidal ecosystems where natural processes continue to function largely undisturbed.

  28. The EU climate and energy package entered into force on 25 June 2009.

  29. On 25 June 2009, the Klimahaus, or Climate House, in Bremerhaven opened. Bob Geldof held a speech at the opening ceremony. The exhibition areas of 11,500 square meters show the visitors the whole world of earth’s climate. It is split into four main areas: Travel, Elements, Perspectives and Chances. Visitors will experience a fascinating journey along the 8th line of longitude around the earth through climate zones. Special rooms will allow visitors to experience minus 35 degrees or 40 degrees plus and 80 percent humidity.

  30. The World Heritage Committee decided to remove Germany’s Dresden Elbe Valley from UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to the building of a four-lane bridge in the heart of the cultural landscape which meant that the property failed to keep its “outstanding universal value as inscribed.” Dresden was inscribed as a cultural landscape in 2004. Dresden is only the second property ever to have been removed from the World Heritage List. The Oman´s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was delisted in 2007.

  31. The levels of harmful particulate matter pollution in Germany’s inner cities continues to remain too high. The ceiling (daily mean) of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre of air (µg/m3) has already been exceeded more often than the allowable 35 days a year in six cities, including Stuttgart and Munich. Another ten cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Thuringia, Hesse, and Saxony are just short of exceeding the limit. One explanation is traceable to the weather conditions at the beginning of this year: high-pressure areas with weak winds that occurred more frequently than in 2007 and 2008 hampered removal of air pollutants.

  32. 24 June, 2009: Germany delayed CCS law until after election. Realising there is too much disagreement, Germany's ruling politicians on Tuesday dropped a pending national CCS law and postponed it until after general elections in September 2009.

  33. Activists from the environmentalist group Greenpeace staged a protest on top of the reactor dome of the Unterweser nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony on 22. June 2009. Greenpeace said the daylong protest was meant to highlight the “deadly danger” of nuclear power and demanded the immediate closure of the older reactor and six other facilities in Germany.

  34. Krümmel nuclear power plant in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, started to produce electricity again on 21 June. It will take several days before the power plant achieves full capacity. Krümmel was shut down in June 2007 due to a fire in a transformer outside of the reactor building.

  35. A fire on an uninhabited North Sea island and national park has destroyed thousands of bird nests. The fire started on 17 June 2009 on the island of Mellum in Lower Saxony's Wattenmeer national park. Mellum was home to colonies of herring gulls and oystercatchers, but both were reportedly completely destroyed by the flames.

  36. The European Commission launched on 16 June 2009 the BUILD UP web portal as a tool for sharing information on reducing energy use of buildings. Content will be regularly updated and enhanced by users themselves to cover a wide range of good practice in energy reduction and of information on legislation.

  37. 2010 is the second year of cooperation of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which initiated the Wind Day campaign, and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) in the organisation of the Global Wind Day. On 15 June thousands of public events will be organised simultaneously. The Global Wind Day is an awareness campaign for the promotion of wind energy worldwide.

  38. On 12 June 2009, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation concerning the placing on the market and use of biocidal products (COM(2009)267). The proposed Regulation will repeal and replace the current Directive 98/8/EC concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market. This proposal aims at significantly increasing the safety of biocide products used and placed on the market in the European Union. It proposes to phase out the most hazardous substances, particularly those that may cause cancer, and to introduce new rules for articles such as furniture and textiles treated with biocides, which are not covered by existing legislation. It introduces simplified legislation, whilst providing new incentives for companies to develop safer products against harmful pests and germs. . The Helsinki-based European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will be involved in the authorisation of some of these products through a centralised approach. The proposal should enter into force in 2013.

  39. Germany will be the first country to ratify the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Bundestag and Bundesrat have concluded the necessary national legislative procedure in record time. Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has welcomed this and stressed the merits of Bonn as the site for the IRENA Secretariat. The German government has applied to host this new Agency in the UN city of Bonn.

  40. The European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region on 10 June 2009. The strategy takes the form of a communication and an action plan with a list of 80 flagship projects, some of which have already been launched. The four cornerstones of the strategy are to make this part of Europe: Environmentally sustainable (e.g. process waste water); Prosperous (e.g. promoting innovation in small and medium enterprises); Accessible and attractive (e.g. improving transport links); Safe and secure (e.g. better accident response). This is the first time that the EU has developed such a comprehensive strategy at the level of a “macro-region”. It could inspire similar approaches in areas such as the Mediterranean or Danube basin. In particular, it constitutes a first step towards the regional implementation of the EU integrated Maritime Policy. Between 2007 and 2013, the Baltic Sea Region will benefit from more than €50 billion of investment support under the Cohesion Policy and other EU funding, including €27 billion for improved accessibility, nearly €10 billion for the environment, €6.7 billion for competitiveness and €697 million for security and risk prevention.