1. Commissioned by Siemens, the Wuppertal Institute examined how a modern metropolis like Munich can drastically reduce the amount of CO2 it emits. Using a specific model urban district, the analysis concretely demonstrates how the transformation to a virtually carbon-free metropolis can be accomplished in terms of infrastructure and technology. Key levers for cutting CO2 emissions are high-efficiency energy applications, in particular in buildings; infrastructure modifications in the areas of heating, electricity and transportation; and a transition to renewable and low carbon energy sources wherever possible.

  2. Businesses will soon not only be leading cars and computers but also chemicals. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) makes this proposal in its “Sustainable Chemicals” paper. The idea is simple: producers or importers no longer sell a chemical, say a solvent used in platinum production, but instead provide the benefits obtained from the chemical, including its professional and ecological application. After use the supplier recovers the used chemicals, treats them, and handles their ecological disposal. According to the chemical leasing concept suppliers will benefit from providing their know-how and not from the volumes of chemicals sold as in the past.

  3. In the European Union (EU27), 522 kg of municipal waste was generated per person in 2007. Municipal waste generated per person varied from 294 kg in the Czech Republic to 801 kg in Denmark. In Germany 564 kg of mnucipal waste was generated per person. The treatment methods differ substantially between Member States. In the EU27 in 2007, 42% of treated municipal waste was landfilled, 20% incinerated, 22% recycled and 17% composted. The Member States with the highest recycling rates for municipal waste were Germany (46%), Belgium (39%), and Sweden (37%). This information is published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

  4. The Amazon is surprisingly sensitive to drought, according to new research conducted throughout the world's largest tropical forest. The 30-year study, published in Science, provides the first solid evidence that drought causes massive carbon loss in tropical forests, mainly through killing trees. The study was based on the unusual 2005 drought in the Amazon. In normal years the forest absorbs nearly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. The drought caused a loss of more than 3 billion tonnes. The total impact of the drought - 5 billion extra tonne of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - exceeds the annual emissions of Europe and Japan combined.

  5. As of July 2009, vehicle tax is to be calculated on the basis of emissions caused. For older vehicles, CO2-based vehicle tax is to be introduced gradually as of 2013.

  6. Papua New Guinea has created its first national conservation area to preserve forever a swath of pristine tropical forest larger than Singapore. Named for its three main rivers – the Yopno, Uruwa and Som of the Huon Peninsula – the YUS Conservation Area covers 187,800 acres (76,000 hectares or 760 square kilometers) of tropical forest stretching from PNG’s northern coast to interior mountains.

  7. FAO has published the new edition of its biennial report The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) as over 60 countries gather in Rome for the 28th meeting of FAO's Committee on Fisheries (COFI). The fishing industry and national fisheries authorities must do more to understand and prepare for the impacts that climate change will have on world fisheries, says the FAO report. Existing responsible fishing practices need to be more widely implemented and current management plans should be expanded to include strategies for coping with climate change.

  8. 194 pilot whales and six bottlenose dolphins have stranded themselves on Naracoopa beach on Tasmania's King Island on sunday evening. About 140 of the animals had died. By late Monday, 48 animals had been returned to the sea by officials and more than 100 King Island residents who had volunteered to help.

  9. A fire has broken out aboard an oil tanker after it was in collision with a container ship off the coast of Dubai. The accident happened in a shipping channel near Jebel Ali Port. The tanker was named Kashmir and was carrying about 30,000 tons of oil condensate. The Maltese-flagged vessel was heading to the UAE from Iran.

  10. A rupture in Ecuador's second largest oil pipeline has polluted the Santa Rosa river in the lush Amazon jungle. 14,000 barrels of crude has polluted the river.

  11. Globally, commercial ships emit almost half as much particulate pollution into the air as the total amount released by cars, according to a new study of the US-Agency NOAA. Ship pollutants affect both the Earth's climate and the health of people living along coastlines. The study is the first to provide a global estimate of maritime shipping's total contribution to air particle pollution based on direct measurements of emissions. The authors estimate that worldwide, ships emit 0.9 teragrams, or about 2.2 million pounds, of particulate pollution each year. Shipping also contributes almost 30 percent of smog-forming nitrogen oxide gases. The findings appeared online 25 February in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Lack, D. A., et al. (2009), Particulate emissions from commercial shipping: Chemical, physical, and optical properties, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D00F04, doi:10.1029/2008JD011300.

  12. NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to reach orbit after its 1:55 a.m. PST liftoff Tuesday from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate. The spacecraft did not reach orbit and likely landed in the ocean near Antarctica.

  13. The BMU Brochure was made avaible on the Internet (in German only).

  14. Stockholm and Hamburg were today named as the first winners of the new European Green Capital award. The Swedish capital will be European Green Capital in 2010 followed by Hamburg in 2011. The European Commission's new award scheme encourages cities to improve the quality of urban life by taking the environment systematically into account in urban planning.

  15. Budapest won the 2008 European Mobility Week Award. The Hungarian capital was judged by an independent panel of experts to have done the most to raise public awareness of air pollution from traffic and promote cleaner alternatives during European Mobility Week.

  16. The risks of severe climate impacts increase drastically with only small increases in global mean temperature. An international team of researchers has reinvestigated the five “reasons for concern” described first in the Third Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001, and revised a graphic depiction of their sensitivities to increases in global mean temperature. The diagram shows clearly how the borderline to dangerous climate change could be crossed much earlier than previously thought but also that ambitioned climate policy could minimize the associated risks.

  17. Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City have found that 2008 was the ninth warmest year since continuous instrumental records were started in 1880. The ten warmest years on record have all occurred between 1997 and 2008. The GISS analysis found that the global average surface air temperature was 0.44°C above the global mean for 1951 to 1980, the baseline period for the study.

  18. The environmental ministers from over 140 countries agreed to begin negotiating a treaty to control global mercury pollution at a meeting of the UN Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya.

  19. The Federal Minister for Education and Research, Dr Annette Schavan, inaugurated Neumayer Station III on 20 February, 2009. The new German research facility is located 6.5 km south of the old Neumayer Station on the Ekström ice shelf in Dronning Maud Land in the Antarctic. The construction project of about 40 million Euros was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with long-term funds for polar research, and it was realized within the framework of the International Polar Year.

  20. Belgium opened a new 20 million euro "zero emissions" polar science station in Antarctica on 15 February, 2009. The Princess Elisabeth research station is totally energy self-sufficient and also aims not to emit any carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Belgian-based International Polar Foundation that runs the base.

  21. On 14 February 2009, an oil spill was detected approximately 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Fastnet Rock off the West Cork coast of Ireland. It has been reported that there were Russian vessels in the area. The spill is estimated to be 400-500 tonnes of oil. The spill was originally spread over an area encompassing four miles by five miles. The alert was provided by the CleanSeaNet European oil spill detection service of EMSA.

  22. Over 350 cities across Europe have made a green pledge to make a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020. The "Covenant of Mayors" pledge was made Tuesday 10 February at the European Parliament. Each city will now draw up a sustainable energy action plan over the next 12 months.

  23. In January 2009 the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft had founded the new Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy Systems Technology IWES. The new Fraunhofer IWES institute consists of the former Fraunhofer Center for Wind Energy and Maritime Technologies CWMT in Bremerhaven and will be extended during 2009 by the Kassel Institut für Solare Energieversorgungstechnik – ISET e. V. after the transfer had been completed with the prescribed formalities.

  24. The Swedish parliament decided in 1980 that no further nuclear power plants should be built, and that a nuclear power phase-out should be completed by 2010. On February 5 2009, the Swedish Government announced an agreement allowing for the replacement of existing reactors.

  25. The European Commission adopted the first ever EU Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks. The aim of the plan is to ensure that effective steps are taken to help rebuild shark stocks wherever they are under threat and to set down guidelines for the sustainable management of the fisheries concerned, including those where shark are taken as by-catch. The plan also includes measures to improve scientific knowledge of shark stocks and shark fisheries. The measures set out cover not only sharks, but also related species, such as skates and rays, and will apply wherever the EU fleet operates, both within and outside European waters. The Commission is also committed to working to ensure that the EU's action in international bodies and agreements is coherent with its policy on sharks at home.

  26. Elite scientists from all over the world will conduct research at the newly-founded Institute for Advanced Climate, Earth System and sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. Their aim will be to find solutions for the most pressing challenges of our time: climate change and the preservation of our environment. As the home of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Studies and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam is already a center of earth and climate research. The German Federal Government and the State of Brandenburg will support the IASS with 9 million euros annually for the next seven years, most of which will come from the budget of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Klaus Töpfer, who has served as Germany’s Environment Minister and the General Director of the UN Environment Program has been tapped to lead the Institute.

  27. On 1 February 2009 Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the proposed Environmenal Code has failed. He accused the CSU of a blockade policy.

  28. The First Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation was held at the resort of Hua Hin, Thailand from January 27-30, hosted by the Royal Government of Thailand. All 13 tiger range countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam) were represented in Hua Hin. During this conference, the ministers and representatives adopted the Hua Hin Declaration on Tiger Conservation. In the declaration, tiger range states pledged to increase occupancy and numbers of the remaining wild tigers within each country and jointly strive to double the global tiger population by 2022.

  29. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) truly came into being on January 26, 2009 at the Founding Conference of IRENA in Bonn. More than 100 government delegations from across the world attended the conference and a total of 75 nations signed the Agency’s statute.

  30. At www.erneuerbare-energien.de/english the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) now also provides a broad range of information in English about renewable energies. This gives the international public easier access to information which has been available in German at www.erneuerbare-energien.de since 2003 on the latest developments in the fields of solar and wind power, hydropower, biomass and geothermal energy.

  31. HALO – High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft landed at Oberpfaffenhofen research airport on 24 January 2009. The aircraft, a Gulfstream G550, has been converted into one of the world’s most state-of-the-art research aircraft for climate and atmospheric research. After an approximately nine-hour ferry flight from Gulfstream’s manufacturing facility in Savannah in the US, HALO touched down on the landing strip of its new home airport shortly after 10am. With its range of up to 8 000 kilometres and ceiling of 15.5 kilometres, the new research aircraft can carry a scientific payload of up to three tonnes to areas above the ocean which could not be reached before, or to the polar regions.

  32. The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in western Japan at 12:54 p.m. on Friday, local time, into an overcast sky.

  33. According to the US Coast Guard, the collision on 23 January 2010 between the tanker Eagle Otome and a barge caused some 450,000 gallons of crude oil to spill into port waters. The spillage happened at Port Arthur, south-east Texas.

  34. The Batteries Act (BattG) implements the EU Batteries Directive in Germany. A register for manufacturers of batteries and accumulators will be set up according to EU requirements. The Federal Environment Agency will manage the register which will allow it to gain an overview of the enterprises active on the market. It will also allow the Agency to prosecute enterprises trying to dodge their own obligation to dispose of their products at the expense of their co-competitors. In the process UBA will be entitled to fine "free-riders". The draft act also determines that 35% of the portable batteries placed on the market annually will have to be recovered and recycled as of September 2012 at the latest. After September 2016 this percentage will increase to 45%. The current regulations pertaining to the recovery and disposal of portable, automotive and industrial batteries remain largely intact. The new Batteries Act (BattG) replaces the current Batteries Ordinance (BattV) in place since 1998.

  35. The new Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging ("CLP Regulation") contributes to the GHS aim that the same hazards will be described and labelled in the same way all around the world. By using internationally agreed classification criteria and labelling elements, it is expected to facilitate trade and to contribute towards global efforts to protect humans and the environment from hazardous effects of chemicals. The new act will complement the REACH Regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The CLP Regulation enters into force on 20 January 2009 and will, after a transitional period, replace the current rules on classification, labelling and packaging of substances (Directive 67/548/EEC) and mixtures (Directive 1999/45/EC). The deadline for substance classification according to the new rules will be 1 December 2010 and for mixtures 1 June 2015.

  36. The first annual Zayed Future Energy Prize was awarded on 19 January 2009 to Mr. Dipal Chandra Barua, Founding Managing Director of Grameen Shakti for his visionary efforts to bring renewable energy solutions to the rural population of Bangladesh. Mr. Barua's organization, Grameen Shakti (GS), has installed more than 200,000 solar PV systems that currently provide power for more than two million rural people.

  37. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) have published the first “Umweltwirtschaftsbericht” (environmental economic report). The new joint report demonstrates the close connection between ecology and economy as well as the new importance of environmental policy.

  38. The German Government is making 1.5 Milliard euros available for an environmental or scrapping bonus. Owners of cars more than nine years old will receive 2,500 euros if they replace them with a new car.

  39. The German research vessel Polarstern is currently on its way to the Southwest Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean. The team of 48 scientists on board left Cape Town on 7th January to carry out the Indo-German iron fertilization experiment LOHAFEX. LOHAFEX will provide more basic information to further our understanding of the role of ocean ecosystems in the global carbon cycle. It will help filling the gaps of knowledge mentioned by international conventions to classify the potential role of ocean fertilization as a means of reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

  40. Greenpeace UK , the actress Emma Thompson, the comedian Alistair McGowan and millionaire Tory Zac Goldsmith have bought a piece of land the size of a football pitch in the middle the proposed development to expand the airport. The organisation are allowing members of the public to become "beneficial owners" of the "Airplot" in order to register their protest and in the hope it will make it more difficult for a compulsory purchase order.