1. The first Annual Save The Frogs Day was celebrated on April 28th, 2009. Dr. Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, the world's leading amphibian conservation organization. He conceived and coordinates Save The Frogs Day, the world's largest day of amphibian education and conservation action

  2. The German edition of the report "State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World" of the Washington World Watch Institute was presented in Berlin on 28 April 2009.

  3. A two-day conference in Athens on the future of European biodiversity policy entitled "Biodiversity Protection – Beyond 2010" will open on Monday the 27th of April. Some 230 delegates from all the EU Member States, together with representatives from NGOs, European business and UN organisations will discuss current EU policy on preserving EU biodiversity identify priorities for future action.

  4. The European Commission welcomed the formal adoption of the climate and energy package and legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars and transport fuels. The climate and energy package consists of four legislative texts: A Directive revising the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which covers some 40% of EU greenhouse gas emissions; An "effort-sharing" Decision setting binding national targets for emissions from sectors not covered by the EU ETS; A Directive setting binding national targets for increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix; A Directive creating a legal framework for the safe and environmentally sound use of carbon capture and storage technologies. The package is complemented by two further legislative acts that were agreed at the same time: A Regulation requiring a reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars to an average of 120g per km, to be phased in between 2012 and 2015, and further to 95g per km in 2020. This measure alone will contribute more than one-third of the emission reductions required in the non-ETS sectors; A revision of the Fuel Quality Directive requiring fuel suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the fuel production chain by 6% by 2020. The six legislative acts will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal, expected in May.

  5. In celebration of International Earth Day, the Afghanistan National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) declared Band-e-Amir as Afghanistan's first internationally recognized national park. The park will protect one of Afghanistan's best-known natural areas - a series of six deep blue lakes separated by natural dams made of travertine, a mineral deposit.

  6. A group of EU-funded researchers are counting the costs of the damage caused by invasive species in Europe. In the study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment e-view, they have listed the invasive species that cause the most harm to environment and cost the most money to combat. The ecologists used data from the Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE) project. Ecosystem services are broken down into four categories: supporting major ecosystem resources, such as water and energy cycles; provisioning by producing goods, such as pollination of crops; regulating ecosystem processes, such as water filtration; and cultural or non-material benefits, such as recreation and aesthetics. They produced a list of the top 100 invasive species in Europe by assessing which species had the most impacts in the most categories. Among the top invaders were Canada geese, zebra mussels, brook trout, the Bermuda buttercup and coypu, also known as nutria.

  7. US seed manufacturing giant Monsanto filed a suit against the German government's ban on the company's genetically modified maize on Wednesday at the administrative court in the city of Braunschweig. Monsanto is hoping for a decision by mid May, which would allow it to plant GM seed this spring.

  8. Two thirds (66 percent) of the German population want to continue with the nuclear phase-out as adopted by the government or even accelerate it. This was the result of a representative poll on the safety of nuclear power plants and the phasing out of nuclear energy, carried out by the FORSA polling institute on behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry (survey period: 20-22 April). The majority of the population (57 percent) consider nuclear energy a great hazard or a very great hazard to themselves and their families. This opinion is shared by a majority in almost all age groups, although in the age group 18 to 29, only 49 percent consider the hazard as very great or great.

  9. German Agriculture Minister Isle Aigner announced a ban on the cultivation of US biotech giant Monsanto's genetically modified corn strain MON 810 on Tuesday 14 April 2009 after considering a number of studies.

  10. A volcano La Cumbre has erupted on the Galapagos islands, threatening some of the region's exotic wildlife. After four years of inactivity, La Cumbre began spewing lava, gas and smoke on the Fernandina Island on Saturday. The eruption is not a threat to people living on neighbouring islands, but lava flowing into the sea may harm marine life and iguanas.

  11. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Texas Tech are out with a new study that predicts climate change will alter global forest fire patters, making some areas more prone to fire while lessening the risk to others. The result could mean big changes for areas that either depend on fire or those that fear it.

  12. Noblella pygmaea is a midget frog, the smallest ever found in the Andes and among the smallest amphibians in the world. The popular name is Noble's Pygmy Frog and it has an average length of 11.4 millimeters. It was introduced in a paper recently published in the journal Copeia by Edgar Lehr, a German herpetologist at the Senckenberg Natural History Collection Dresden, and the Swiss-Peruvian ecologist Alessandro Catenazzi from the University of California at Berkeley, USA. - The pygmy was discovered during field work in the Wayqecha Research Station. Not only its small size left it undiscovered for so long. Its predominantly brown colour camougflages Noblella perfectly. But Noble's Pygmy Frog could be spotted with the assistance of the members of the native communities adjacent to the Manu National Park.

  13. The latest Arctic sea ice data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing. New evidence from satellite observations also shows that the ice cap is thinning as well. Scientists who track Arctic sea ice cover from space announced that this winter had the fifth-lowest maximum ice extent on record. The six lowest maximum events since satellite monitoring began in 1979 have all occurred in the past six years (2004-2009).

  14. The Commission has adopted a new ecodesign measure. The regulation sets requirements for the energy efficiency of external power supplies. They convert power input from the mains power source into lower voltage output for household and office products. The requirements address both the active efficiency, i.e. the efficiency when power is supplied to for example a notebook when being actually used, and the no-load power consumption, i.e. the power which the supply still uses when for instance the notebook is not plugged in. These requirements come into force in two steps in 2010 and 2011, and correspond to internationally recognised efficiency criteria, which are achieved by models with significantly enhanced efficiency compared to a current average model.

  15. WCS researchers have discovered a stronghold for one of the world’s rarest freshwater dolphins, the Irrawaddy, deep in the waterlogged jungles of Bangladesh. The scientists counted nearly 6,000 of the dolphins in the South Asian country’s Sundarbans mangrove forest and the adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal. In 2008, the species was listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

  16. The European Parliament adopted a first reading agreement on the voluntary EU Ecolabel ("EU flower") system for environment-friendly products to become less costly and bureaucratic to use. The label has so far been awarded to over 3,000 products such as detergents, paper and shoes. The resolution was adopted with 633 votes in favour to 18 against.

  17. Following the loss of an ice bridge on the Antarctic Wilkins Ice Shelf, the northern ice front is now becoming unstable. The first icebergs broke off at this point on 20 April 2009. This was observed by scientists using the TerraSAR-X Earth observation satellite operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).The TerraSAR-X images from 23 and 25 April 2009 show these 'calved' icebergs. These icebergs are breaking away at the failure zones which have gradually formed over the past 15 years.The spectacular break-up events on the Wilkins Ice Shelf in 2008 caused the ice bridge between Charcot and Latady Island, measuring some 40 to 50 kilometres in length, to be cut to a width of just 900 metres at its narrowest point. This plate of ice, only 250 metres thick, finally broke off on 5 April 2008. Ice shelves are stabilised by the islands adjacent to them, which to a certain extent hold them in check. The loss of this link to Charcot Island will inevitably give rise to instability in the northern ice front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf.

  18. The Federal Cabinet adopted the draft act on the capture, transport and permanent storage of carbon dioxide in deep underground rock formations (carbon capture and storage, CCS). The draft act transposes the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide into German law.

  19. As a result of accelerating climate change, April 2009 will likely be the hottest April since records began in 1891, according to the German Weather Service (DWD) on Wednesday 29 April, 2009. The month reached the top with new record measurements for temperature, duration of sunshine and, in some regions, dryness.

  20. Fishermen in the Philippines accidentally caught a megamouth shark, one of the rarest fish in the world and later ate it after it had been identified. Only 40 other sightings of the shark have ever been recorded, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

  21. In December 2008 Conservationists discovered a significant population of Bornean orang-utans. A team surveying mountainous forests in eastern Borneo counted 219 orang-utan nests, indicating a "substantial" number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, of the US-based charity The Nature Conservancy.

  22. The research aircraft Polar 5 belongs to the Alfred Wegener Institute. It will start on an Arctic measurement campaign which will last about four weeks. Measurements of sea ice thickness and atmospheric variables in an area between Spitsbergen, Greenland, northern Canada and Alaska are at the centre of the project PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Inter comparison Project). Up to twenty German and international researchers will carry out investigations in those areas of the Arctic where no data are yet available. Six research institutes from Germany, Canada, the USA and Italy are involved in the project.

  23. Germany achieves its Kyoto target. Overall emissions of greenhouse gases in Germany declined by nearly 12 million tonnes in 2008 as compared to 2007 (minus 1,2 percent). The total emissions at 945 million tonnes CO2-equivalent are within the target corridor of the Kyoto protocol. Since 1990 Germany had achieved, by the end of 2008, an overall reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions of 23,3 percent. These are the results of the short term forecasts carried out by the Federal Environment Agency for 2008 emissions of greenhouse gases.

  24. The Seventh session of the AWG-KP and fifth session of the AWG-LCA took place from Sunday 29 March to Wednesday 8 April 2009 in Maritim, Bonn. It was the first of five planned negotiating sessions before COP 15 in Copenhagen in December.

  25. On March 28th, 8.30pm local time, almost 4000 towns and cities across 88 countries visibly demonstrated their growing concern over climate change by turning off their lights for 1 hour. Global icons including Sydney Opera House, the Acropolis, the Bird’s Nest stadium in China, the pyramids of Giza, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and Big Ben were plunged into darkness for one hour for the largest global action on climate change ever.

  26. Federal Administrative Court of Germany has ruled that operators RWE and Vattenfall may not extend the lifespan of their Biblis A and Brunsbuettel nuclear power plants as they had sought. The operators of the nuclear power plants had planned to transfer allowances to produce power at the Mülheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant to Biblis A and Brunsbuettel and thus operate the power plants longer than initially planned.

  27. Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the Sulabh Sanitation Movement in India, has been named the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. He will formally receive the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize at a Royal Award Ceremony and Banquet during the World Water Week in Stockholm this coming August. Since he established the Sulabh Sanitation Movement in 1970, Dr. Pathak has worked to change social attitudes toward traditional unsanitary latrine practices in slums, rural villages, and dense urban districts, and developed cost effective toilet systems that have improved daily life and health for millions of people.

  28. The United Nations new website on climate change, CoolPlanet2009 is online. It is a part of its European public information campaign on Climate Change. The website is the centrepiece of the CoolPlanet2009 campaign, a year-long campaign to raise awareness on environmental issues and to mobilize citizens in support of a new climate agreement in Copenhagen in December this year.

  29. The Indo-German team of scientists from the National Institute of Oceaonography and the Alfred Wegener Institute has returned from its expedition on research vessel Polarstern. The cooperative project Lohafex has yielded new insights on how ocean ecosystems function. But it has dampened hopes on the potential of the Southern Ocean to sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and thus mitigate global warming. The scientists fertilized a 300 square kilometre patch of ocean inside the core of an eddy (a clockwise rotating water column with an area of about 10,000 square kilometres) with six tonnes of dissolved iron. They followed the effects of the fertilization on the plankton continuously for 39 days. Additionally they investigated ocean chemistry, particularly concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

  30. The amphibious USS New Orleans and the submarine USS Hartford collided in the Straight of Hormuz, between Iran and Arabian peninsula, on Friday 20 March 2009. There was no damage to the submarine's nuclear propulsion system. The amphibious ship suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of apprximately 25,000 gallons of diesel.

  31. March 18th, 2009 marks the seventh International Polar Day, this time focusing on Polar Oceans. This includes marine biodiversity, physical oceanography.

  32. On 18 March 2009 the Commission adopted two ecodesign regulations to improve the energy efficiency of household lamps and of office, street and industrial lighting products. The two regulations lay down energy efficiency requirements which will save close to 80 TWh by 2020 and will lead to a reduction of about 32 million tons of CO2 emission per year. Inefficient incandescent light bulbs will be progressively replaced by improved alternatives starting in 2009 and finishing at the end of 2012.

  33. The report was presented to the press on 17. March 2009 during the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey. The EEA report 'Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought' highlights that while southern Europe continues to experience the greatest water scarcity problems, water stress is growing in parts of the north too. Moreover, climate change will cause the severity and frequency of droughts to increase in the future, exacerbating water stress, especially during the summer months. Excluding illegal water use, Europe abstracts around 285 km3 of freshwater annually, representing on average 5 300 m3 per capita, roughly equivalent to two olympic swimming pools.

  34. Norway invited the Contracting Parties to the 1973 polar bear Agreement to a meeting of the parties in Tromsø 17 - 19 March 2009. Around 1970 widespread hunting had reduced polar bear populations in many parts of the Arctic. The polar bear Range States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia and USA, entered into an agreement in 1973 to protect polar bears and their habitat. The five Contracting Parties met last time in Oslo 1981 and decided then that the agreement would be valid indefinitely. The purpose of the 2009 meeting was to provide an update on the conservation status for the polar bears, review implementation of the polar bear Agreement, identify useful polar bear conservation strategies and discuss mechanisms for enhanced implementation of the polar bear Agreement.

  35. On 16 March 2009 Greenpeace activists draped a giant banner from a Deutsche Bank tower in Frankfurt to demand more funding for efforts to combat climate change. The banner was hung to call for more financial commitment by the government to international climate protection.

  36. The oil spill from a damaged container ship off the country's east coast has been far worse than originally thought. Dozens of beaches, covering about 60 kilometres, have been declared disaster zones along the coast of the north-eastern state of Queensland. The container ship Pacific Adventurer was damaged by a tropical storm on 11 March 2009.

  37. On 11 March 2009, the Federal Cabinet decided to pass four new draft environmental laws into the parliamentary process. The four laws are: Act on the simplification of environmental law, Act on water law reform, Act replacing the Federal Nature Conservation Act, and the Act regulating protection from non-ionising radiation.

  38. The cargo ship Pacific Adventurer carrying 60 containers of ammonium nitrate, used for making fertilizer and explosives, lost an estimated 31 containers overboard on 11 March 2009 in rough seas off Australia's northeast coast. One of the containers pierced the ship’s hull, allowing about 20 tonnes of fuel to leak out.

  39. The ban on testing of cosmetics products on animals in the European Union entered into force on 11 March 2009.