The Environment Chronicle Notable environmental events between 2009 and 2009 Deselect
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- 2009 286 Events
- 2010 315 Events
- 2011 293 Events
- 2012 231 Events
- 2013 331 Events
- 2014 366 Events
- 2015 374 Events
- 2016 341 Events
- 2017 306 Events
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The environmental record of the outgoing European Commission is worryingly off target, the Green 10 coalition of leading environmental organisations said on 10 June 2009 in Brussels. Environmental groups published an assessment of the Barroso Commission, giving it an overall mark of 4.4/10.
Bonn, 08 June 2009: Climate change experts from leading non-governmental organisations unveiled their blueprint for a legally binding Copenhagen agreement on the second Climate Change Talks in Bonn. The 160-page “Copenhagen Climate Treaty”, which has been distributed to negotiators from 192 states, took some of the world’s most experienced climate NGO’s almost a year to write and contains a full legal text covering all the main elements needed to provide the world with a fair and ambitious agreement that keeps climate change impacts below the unacceptable risk levels identified by most scientists.
International scientists hold the first ever debate on the contribution of cultural studies to climate research. The foreseeable consequences of dangerous climate change call for combined global efforts for climate protection – efforts that require great social, political and cultural changes. These aspects of climate protection will be discussed for the first time between scientists of various disciplines and international experts from the worlds of politics and business. The conference from June 8-10 in Essen (Germany) aims to consolidate the social debate on climate change and provide new incentives for scientific policy advice in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. The conference is hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI) and Stiftung Mercator, in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
A new report, the first-ever attempt to take stock of the marine litter situation in the 12 major regional seas around the world, was launched on World Oceans Day by the UN Environment Programme(UNEP) and Ocean Conservancy in Washington DC and Nairobi. From discarded fishing gear to plastic bags to cigarette butts, a growing tide of marine litter is harming oceans and beaches worldwide, says the report.
The global premiere of the new film 'HOME', by world-renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, was one of the major worldwide events taking place for World Environment Day (5 June 2009), with more than 100 locations around the world. Screenings - including star-studded premieres at the Eiffel Tower and in New York City's Central Park - were free of charge, and the film was also available for free download on YouTube.
A highlight of the World Environment Day 2009 is the launch of the Climate Heroes which supports individuals who are undertaking exceptional personal feats, high-profile expeditions, and other acts of environmental activism to demonstrate their commitment and to raise awareness for one simple idea: Your planet needs You! Their projects focus on environmental “hot topics” like CO2 output, finding smart solutions to beat waste and tree planting.
The "European Climate Teach-In Day" was hold on the 5th June 2009. It is organized by the Research and Transfer Centre Applications of Life Sciences of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany (HAW Hamburg), as part of the "International Climate Change Information Programme" led by HAW Hamburg. The "European Climate Teach-in Day" is being organized in partnership with the European Commision, the European Space Agency, the European Environment Agency, the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation.
An opening ceremony for the launch of Germany's Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) was held on 3 June 2009 in Berlin. The German PRTR presents 2008 reports by large industrial enterprises, for example, in energy and chemical industries, intensive livestock facilities and large wastewater treatment plants, information about their pollutant releases to air, water and soil, if specified thresholds have been exceeded. In addition, pollutants in the effluent and the waste to be disposed are contained in the annual reports. From June 2009, this information PRTR in Germany for all citizens free of charge and without restriction on the Internet.
Germany has officially opened an eco-friendly power plant near Munich. German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel inaugurated the new power station in the Munich municipality of Unterhaching on 2 Juni 2009. The plant, which will supply energy from deep within the earth's crust, is the first in the country to use what is known as the Kalina system.
The new Greenpeace report Slaughtering the Amazon tracks beef, leather and other cattle products from ranches involved in illegal deforestation, invasion of indigenous lands and slavery in Brazil back to the supply chains of top brands such as Adidas/Reebok, Timberland, Geox, Carrefour, Eurostar, Honda, Gucci, IKEA, Kraft, Clarks, Nike, Tesco and Wal-Mart.
A second round of global climate talks was hold in Bonn from 1-12 June 2009. The conference aimed to make progress towards a new international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Up-to-date, quick and reliable information on chemical substances and their environmental impact is important for the sake of environmental protection and when fire departments and the police must avert danger. A database on substances jointly operated by the Germany’s federal government and the Laender Gemeinsamen Stoffdatenpool Bund/Länder, or GSBL, has been in place since 1995. With immediate effect, the data on some 400,000 chemical substances have been improved and made available on the Internet to the public. On 28 May 2009 the two GSBL partners announced the launch of their new online application. Eight Laender and the Federal Government operate a central substance information search application. The data can be accessed via the Internet from anywhere that is connected to the web. The general public will now have direct and free access to GSBL.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows industrialized countries and companies under the European Emission Trading Scheme to meet a part of their commitments by investing in climate change mitigation projects carried out in developing countries. Such projects must be validated by independent audit companies, called Designated Operational Entities (DOEs). In a study published on 27 May 2009, performed on behalf of WWF, the Öko-Institut has produced a rating system for DOEs. The rating is based on the frequency with which projects that were considered satisfactory in the validation report produced by the DOE were in fact found to be faulty or were even rejected by the UN approval authority. “Overall, the auditing of projects remains seriously deficient”, says lead author Lambert Schneider of the Öko-Institut. In more that 50 percent of cases in which auditors give the thumbs-up for a project, the UN demands corrections or even rejects the project outright. DOEs are rated on a scale from A (best mark) to F (worst mark). Of the five companies rated, TÜV-Nord and TÜV-Süd get a D mark – which is the best in the field.
On 27. May 2009 the Federal Cabinet passed a decision paving the way for the auction of emission allowances. The Ordinance adopted by the Cabinet on the auctioning of emission allowances (Emissionshandels-Versteigerungsverordnung, EHVV 2012), still needs the consent of the German Bundestag. It especially regulates the auctioning of an annual 40 million emission allowances for the years 2010 to 2012 which were not allocated to power plant operators free of charge. The Ordinance stipulates that for the next three years (2010 to 2012) the same quantities of allowances shall be auctioned each week at one of the existing emissions trading exchanges, in the form of the products traded there (spot and futures markets). The auctioning itself will be conducted in line with the straightforward procedure usual for such transactions. The exchange supervisory authority and the processing of successful bids shall be subject to the same rules as other stock exchange dealings. This means that the particular advantages of emissions trading will apply to auctioning as well, since in emissions trading supply and demand of all the participants on the market determine the current value of the emission allowances. The Auctioning Ordinance only envisages government intervention in the pricing process in exceptional cases, where individual tenderers attempt to manipulate the auction price with their bids, thus abusing the system. The Auctioning Ordinance contains an opening clause explicitly enabling other EU member states to auction their allowances on the German trading platform as well.
On 26 May, 2009 the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) decided to add 22 new sites from 17 countries to the UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) which now counts 553 sites in 107 countries. Bliesgau and Swabian Alb in Germany have been added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Altogether there are 15 UNESCO biosphere reserves in Germany.
Australia has lifted protection levels for the Tasmanian devil, the world's largest surviving marsupial carnivore, from vulnerable to endangered. The devil population, which is found on the island state of Tasmania, has been decimated by a facial tumour disease. The new conservation status will give the animals greater protection under national environment laws.
On 21 May 2009 the world record mountaineer Apa Sherpa reached the top of the Mount Everest for the record 19th time and placed a WWF banner urging the world to take action against climate change. The banner which he brought to the top calls to "Stop Climate Change - Let the Himalayas Live!"
One fifth of Europe’s reptiles and nearly a quarter of its amphibians are threatened, according to new studies commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature). The studies, to be presented on World Biodiversity Day, constitute the first European Red Lists for amphibians and reptiles, and reveal alarming population trends. More than half of all European amphibians (59 percent) and 42 percent of reptiles are in decline, which means that amphibians and reptiles are even more at risk than European mammals and birds. For 23 percent of amphibians and 21 percent of reptiles the situation is so severe that they are classified as threatened in the European Red List. Most of the pressure on these declining species comes from mankind's destruction of their natural habitats, combined with climate change, pollution and the presence of invasive species.
US President Obama has announced a new national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. The new standards, covering model years 2012-2016, and ultimately requiring an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016, are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain averaging more than 5 percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions. This would surpass the CAFE law passed by Congress in 2007 required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2020.
Two years after the cruise ship Sea Diamond sank off the coast of the island of Santorini, Greek authorities are to begin the operation to pump hundreds of tons of fuel out of the vessel. Three remote controlled robotic submarines will carry out the operation, pumping out the approximately 450 tons of fuel contained in the ship. The Sea Diamond hit a reef on April 5, 2007 close to the island and sank early the following day. The ship's owner, Cyprus-based Louis Hellenic Cruises will pay estimated six million euros for the operation.
"Climate change - our future is in your hands" the words of an 11-year-old schoolgirl have been transformed into a giant human sign calling for Government action on climate change. The human sign was formed by more than 5000 school children and community groups stretching across the length of St Kilda Beach. The sign was a reminder that the next generation will bear the brunt of policies implemented now.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, launched the first Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction on 17 May, 2009 in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Report is the first biennial global assessment of disaster risk reduction prepared in the context of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The Report provides hard-hitting evidence to demonstrate how, where and why disaster risk is increasing globally and presents key findings from a global analysis of disaster risk patterns and trends, including where high mortality and economic loss is concentrated. The Report’s foundation is a massive database drawing together from a cross-section of UN, governmental, scientific and academic sources over a 32-year period, 1975-2007.
The 2nd International African Penguin Conference took place from the 15-18th April 2009 in Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa. The conference brought together 80 delegates, both local and international, including conservation managers, research scientists, conservationists and seabird rehabilitation experts. The conference focused on the continued decline of the African penguin population. Recent data collected from the breeding colonies of the Western Cape of South Africa confirm that the number of African Penguins continues to decline at an alarming rate. There were 147,000 breeding pairs of African Penguins in 1956 while by 2008 there were only 28,000 pairs. Experts said the food supply may have been disrupted by overfishing, or by fish stocks moving with changing ocean currents due to the effects of global warming. Pollutants may also have weakened penguins and affected their ability to find fish. Other issues affecting penguins include increased predation by fur seals around some colonies and the continuing risk of oil spills.
A new six-country Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI) was launched on 15 May, 2009 at a Leaders Summit in Manado, North Sulawesi. In their Leaders Declaration, the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste formally adopted one of the most comprehensive and specific plans for ocean conservation. The 10-year Regional CTI Plan of Action sets time-bound steps to address growing threats to the region’s coral reefs, fisheries, mangroves, threatened species and other marine and coastal living resources.
The court in Braunschweig rejected an application for an emergency ruling to end the ban of cultivation of Monsanto's MON 810 GMO maize.
BirdLife International, which conducted the research for the IUCN Red List, found 1,227 species (12 percent) are classified as globally threatened with extinction. The IUCN Red List now lists 192 species of bird as Critically Endangered, the highest threat category, a total of two more than in the 2008 update.
Thursday Veggie Day is a campaign invented by EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative, Belgium’s biggest vegetarian organisation) and since mid may 2009 officially supported by the city of Ghent. Ghent thus became probably the first western city in the world officially stimulate people to go vegetarian one day a week.
WWF launched a Climate Scenarios Report headed by Prof. Ove Hoegh Guldberg (the world's leading climate and coral expert based at Queensland University in Australia), at the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia on May 13. The Coral Triangle and Climate Change: Ecosystems, People and Societies at Risk report considers over 300 published scientific studies and includes the work of over 20 experts in fields such as biology, economics and fisheries science to present two different possible futures this century for the world’s richest marine environmen.
A recent study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI together with European research partners looked at the long-term impacts of extra long and heavy trucks up to 25.25 m and 60 tons gross weight, so-called mega trucks, on the climate balance of freight transport. The study finds no positive impact on CO₂ emissions as there is a considerable risk that large volumes of goods will be shifted from rail to roads. This finding contradicts the common assumption that two mega trucks would replace three standard trucks and thus reduce harmful environmental impacts.
The first World Ocean Conference take place from May 11 through May 15, 2009 in the Indonesian city of Manado in North Sulawesi. Environmental experts, officials and ministers from over 80 will discuss the state of the oceans and the role they play in the world's changing climate. One of the main aims is to create a forum to coordinate international conservation efforts to counter the impact of rising sea levels and dwindling fish stocks blamed on higher temperatures.
The Russian fishery vessel the Petrozavodsk grounded by the coast of the Bear Island in the Barents Sea on 11 May, 2009. The ship grounded in an area with big cliffs and with major sea bird populations. Norwegian authorities fear that oil will leak from the vessel and harm the rich sea bird populations in the area. Bear Island with the adjacent waters is a nature reserve.
On 20 May 2009 the German Federal Cabinet adopted amendment of the Ordinance on small firing installations (1. BImSchV).
(May 8, 2009) Nine persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were listed under the Stockholm Convention. Over 160 Governments concluded a conference with decisions to strengthen the global effort to eradicate some of the most toxic chemicals known to humankind. The Conference of the Parties (COP) Convention was amended for the first time to include nine new chemicals still widely used today as pesticides, flame retardants and in a number of other commercial uses. The new toxic chemicals added expand the original ’’dirty dozen’’ covered by the 2004 Convention.
The European Parliament voted on 5 May 2009 to ban the sale of all seal products in the EU, except those hunted by indigenous communities. The aim of the new EU legislation is to regulate the internal market and to address EU citizens' concerns on the welfare of seals during commercial hunts. Canada and Norway are threatening to take Brussels to the World Trade Organisation because of the ban, which still needs to be endorsed by the EU's 27 national governments.
An international team of researchers have just discovered 130, possibly even as many as 200, new frog species in Madagascar. The team of Prof. Miguel Vences from the Technical University Braunschweig reported this in the "Proceedings" of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. The discoveries are the results of the intensive search on the island, as well as genetic analyses of frogs and tadpoles.
At its fourth meeting held from 4 to 8 May 2009, the Conference of the Parties adopted amendments to Annexes A, B and C to the Stockholm Convention to list nine new persistent organic pollutants (SC-4/10-SC-4/18). Lindane listed under Annex A with a specific exemption for use as a human health pharmaceutical for control of head lice and scabies as second line treatment.
The city of Mannheim is offering a scrapping bonus for old bicycles. The program is a joint initiative between the city government and nonprofit organization Biotopia, which offers job training for the unemployed and for disadvantaged youth. The old bikes, which have to be in more or less rideable condition, will be collected at Biotopia's workshop at the Mannheim main train station and refurbished.
National Geographic and the international polling firm GlobeScan have just conducted their second annual study measuring and monitoring consumer progress toward environmentally sustainable consumption in 17 countries around the world. This quantitative consumer study of 17,000 consumers in a total of 17 countries (14 in 2008) asked about such behavior as energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental issues. The top-scoring consumers of 2009 are in the developing economies of India, Brazil and China. Argentina and South Korea, both new additions to the survey, are virtually tied for fourth, followed by Mexicans, Hungarians and Russians. Ranks ninth through thirteenth, the latter a three-way tie, are all occupied by Europeans, as well as Australians in twelfth. Japanese, U.S. and Canadian consumers again score lowest.
On 29 April 2009 German cabinet approved the National Biomass Action plan (Energy). With this plan the Federal Government is supporting the EU Commission which, in its Biomass Action Plan published in 2005, called upon the EU member states to draw up national action plans for the energy use of biomass. "The Biomass Action Plan will expand the use of bioenergy in Germany in an efficient and sustainable way. This will make an essential contribution to value added, in particular in rural areas," said Federal Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner.
European Inventor of the Year 2009: Lifetime achievement: Adolf Goetzberger (Germany) for his work on the commercial use of solar energy, helping to make solar cells a viable alternative to fossil fuels.