1. The prolonged heat and lack of wind or storms has given the cyanobacteria the chance to form the largest carpet since 2005, covering about 377,000 square kilometres of the sea’s surface – roughly Germany’s entire land area. The carpet stretches from Finland down to the Curonian spit on the coast of Lithuania, over to the Bay of Pomerania on the coasts of Germany and Poland and across to Rügen, the German island off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania.

  2. On 5 July 2010 the Mediation Committee agreed on a two-step process for reducing the feed-in tariff for solar electricity. The proposed reduction from 1 July 2010 remains in place, but for the time being support will only be cut by 13% for rooftop installations, 8% for freestanding installations on so-called conversion areas - for example former military or industrial sites - and by 12% for other freestanding systems such as those in business parks. The rest of the draft act, including the abolition of the tariff for cropland, is unchanged. The 3% reduction step contained in the original draft will now be implemented on 1 October 2010.

  3. A ban on the sale of illegally-harvested timber, along with traceability measures and sanctions, has been given the green light by MEPs. The new law aims to reduce illegal deforestation and give consumers better assurances about the products they buy. The new legislation bans illegally-harvested timber or timber products from being placed on the EU market. This will prevent such wood from effectively being laundered once it reaches the EU. Member States will be responsible for applying sanctions to operators who break the rules. The legislation sets out guidelines for imposing fines: the environmental damage caused, the value of the timber and lost tax revenue can all be taken into consideration. EU countries can also impose criminal-law penalties on unscrupulous dealers. To ensure traceability, each operator along the supply chain will need to declare from whom they bought timber and to whom they sold it. Council has already informally agreed with the terms of this draft legislation but will need to rubber stamp it before it can pass into law. The rules are expected to take effect in late 2012 to allow timber operators time to adapt.

  4. On 7 July 2010 the president of the UBA, Jochen Flasbarth, inaugurated the new biocide information portal (www.biozid.info)in Berlin.

  5. The competition “German Capital of Biodiversity” is organised by Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid - DUH) and started on 8 July 2010 in Stuttgart. All municipalities will have four months to fill in a questionnaire by means of which the winners of each category will be selected. The best municipality will also be awarded the “German Capital of Biodiversity” (Bundeshauptstadt der Biodiversität). The questionnaire contains four main topics: ‘Green in the city’, ‘Biodiversity protection’, ‘Water bodies, agriculture and forestry’ as well as ‘Organisation, communication and cooperation’. Within these topics, municipalities can demonstrate their strategies and actions for biodiversity by answering a number of questions and presenting related projects. In addition to the above categories, we also ask municipalities to describe their actions in local environmental justice, i.e. projects that tackle both biodiversity and social challenges simultaneously. In the implementation the competition, DUH will ask for the support of municipality federations, environmental organisations, national agencies and selected local authorities.

  6. On 8 July 2010 a new report was published by environmental group EEB, Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organisations. The report, “10 years of Water Framework Directive: a toothless tiger?” reveals that European governments are doing very little to protect and restore Europe’s waters. Based on eight river management plans around Europe, it was discovered that despite eight years of preparation and planning there appears to be little improvement forecast in the coming years. The findings revealed River Basin Management Plans - national plans for protecting and improving water - are showing little or minimal success. Indeed, many of the plans delay any improvements until 2027, suggesting a widespread abuse of the exemptions the law provides.

  7. TerraSAR-X mapped the oil-polluted area in the Gulf of Mexico in a series of images acquired on 9 July 2010. The oil slick appears black on the satellite imagery – the oil glazes the surface of the water, so the radar signals are reflected away and not returned to the satellite. Beyond the island group just off the Mississippi coastline, the oil that is approaching the coast is shown as a black patch. The frayed offshoots reaching out from the individual oil slicks reveal that the oil was driven forward by the wind. Ships and drilling rigs are visible clearly as points on the water’s surface.

  8. On 11 July 2010 at 15.00 PM, hundreds of thousands of Europeans simultaneously jumped into Europe’s major rivers and lakes, all at the same time on the same day, showing their support for protecting and improving the health of Europe’s water. The Big Jump project includes numerous actions on the main European water basins, like the organisation of a serie of transboundary swimming days on different European water basins. Educational events on the theme of water quality or river restoration are always held during these actions. The project will culminate in 2005 , 2010 and 2015 with the “European River Swimming Day” on all the big European river basins or stretchs where the quality standard has been reached.

  9. The business community too is increasingly recognising that the Earth's natural resources represent economic value, business possibilities and opportunities for profit. Worldwide, the costs of biodiversity loss amount to many trillions of dollars and thus have a growing influence on markets and consumers: 60 percent of consumers in America and Europe and more than 90 percent of consumers in Brazil are aware of the problem of biodiversity loss. More than 80 percent of consumers throughout the world said they would no longer buy products from companies whose business plans neglect ecological and social considerations. These are the findings of the recent TEEB for Business Report which was presented on 13 July 2010 at a conference in London. The TEEB experts conclude that companies can only meet today's market requirements if they integrate sustainable biodiversity management into their corporate strategy.

  10. On 13 July 2010 the Commission proposed to confer to Member States the freedom to allow, restrict or ban the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on part or all of their territory. While keeping unchanged the EU's science-based GM authorisation system, the adopted package consists of a Communication, a new Recommendation on co-existence of GM crops with conventional and/or organic crops and a draft Regulation proposing a change to the GMO legislation. The new Recommendation on co-existence allows more flexibility to Member States taking into account their local, regional and national conditions when adopting co-existence measures. The proposed regulation amends Directive 2001/18/EC to allow Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.

  11. On 14 July 2010 Federal Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle and Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen presented key elements of the joint draft act on the demonstration and application of technologies for the capture, transport and permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Berlin. With this draft act, the German government has opted for a gradual approach to the further development of the respective technologies. For the time being, therefore, the draft act only permits testing and demonstration of storages. The state of development of the technologies will be thoroughly evaluated in 2017. After being suspended in summer 2009, the draft act has undergone a substantial revision.

  12. The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association will be thirty years old on 15 July. Through its innovative scientific and excellent research infrastructure the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) has developed into one of the world’s leading internationally recognised centres for climate research on both polar regions and the oceans. The Alfred Wegener Institute is distinguished by top research on sea ice, the polar oceans and their ecosystems, the North Sea, Wadden Sea, the ice shelves of Greenland and the Antarctic, the polar atmosphere, permafrost regions, the climate history and past of our Earth. Other characteristic features include its strong international network and broad scientific expertise. To solve the questions of today, biosciences, geosciences and climate sciences work closely together. Field research under extreme conditions is just as much part of the everyday tasks as work in modern laboratories, with high-performance computers and methods of remote sensing. Because polar and marine research is always also a logistics challenge, AWI has an excellent infrastructure that it makes available to the national and international scientific community. This includes research vessels like the ‘Polarstern’ and the ‘Heincke’, research stations manned seasonally or throughout the year, such as Neumayer Station III in the Antarctic and the German-French research base ‘AWIPEV’ on Spitsbergen, scientific observatories, innovative measuring systems and the polar aircraft ‘Polar 5’.

  13. The spill in the north eastern port city of Dalian, happened after two pipelines exploded on 16 July 2010, spilling oil into the Bohai Gulf. The pipelines were transferring oil from a Liberian tanker ship to storage facilities in Dalian’s Xingang Port. One pipe exploded, triggering a series of explosions in another pipeline and breaking open a storage tank. An estimated 11,000 barrels (1,500 tons) of crude leaked into the ocean, creating an oil slick that has expanded over 435 square kilometres.

  14. One of the rarest and most threatened primates in the world, so mysterious it was once thought to be extinct, has been caught on camera for the first time. The pictures of the Horton Plains slender loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides) were taken in the montane forests of central Sri Lanka by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Sri Lankan researchers. Until now this subspecies of slender loris has only been seen four times since 1937 and disappeared from 1939 to 2002, leading experts to believe it had become extinct. Conservation biologists from ZSL’s Edge of Existence Programme surveyed 2km transects for more than 200 hours, looking for signs of this elusive wide-eyed primate.

  15. Hundreds of dead penguins and other sea animals have washed up on Sao Paulo state's shores and scientists are investigating the causes, environment officials told Folha Online news agency. The Institute of Environment and Natural Resources said 530 penguins, numerous other sea birds, five dolphins and three giant sea turtles have been found in the coastal towns of Peruibe, Praia Grande and Itanhaem, with more likely on other nearby beaches.

  16. On 23 July 2010, an Amsterdam court fined multinational company Trafigura one million euros for violating EU laws on the export of hazardous waste, which the UN says killed at least 15 people, and forced thousands to be hospitalized in 2006. 69 people were hospitalized and over 100,000 others, complaining of nausea and vomiting after inhaling fumes, sought medical treatment after the incident.In July 2006, 500 tons of caustic soda and petroleum residues on board the Probo Koala ship were originally meant to be off-loaded in Amsterdam, but a disagreement about price led to the waste being redirected to Ivory Coast. There, it was dumped on several open rubbish tips in Abidjan.

  17. The European Commission has approved funding for 210 new projects under the third call for the LIFE+ programme (2007-2013), the European fund for the environment. The projects are from across the EU and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, environmental policy, and information and communication. Overall, they represent a total investment of €515 million, of which the EU will provide €249.8 million.

  18. On 26 July 2010, a pipeline belonging to Enbridge Inc. burst in Marshall, Michigan, releasing more than 800,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River. The spill has affected up to 25 miles of the Kalamazoo River. The spill site, located between Marshall and Battle Creek, includes marshlands, residential areas, farmland and businesses. While the oil leak has stopped, this incident is far from over. EPA believes over a million gallons of oil may have leaked into the river. The Kalamazoo River is a fast-moving river and EPA’s focus right now is on preventing oil from the Enbridge spill from affecting sensitive shorelines and, ultimately, keeping the oil out of Lake Michigan.

  19. On 27 July 2010, a wellhead in southeastern Luisiana was sprewing a mist of oil and gas up to 100 feet into the air after being hit by a tugboat. The leak is about 65 miles south of New Orleans in the Baratavia Bay, which is surrounded by wildlife-rich wetlands and was a fertile area for fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen before the BP spill.

  20. Environmental authorities in northeastern China are monitoring chemical levels in a major river after floodwaters carried more than 3,000 barrels filled with toxic chemicals into it. State-run Xinhua news agency says the containers floated into the Songhua River in northeastern Jilin province Wednesday after flood waters swept through a chemical plant. Another 4,000 barrels that washed out of the factory were empty. Officials briefly cut off water to Jilin city, leaving its four million citizens dependent on bottled water for a day.

  21. Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared on 28 July 2010, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water. The Assembly resolution received 122 votes in favour and zero votes against, while 41 countries abstained from voting.

  22. On 29 July 2010 the World Heritage Committee decided to remove the Galapagos Islands from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Galapagos Islands, which have been called a unique "living museum and showcase of evolution" were inscribed on the Danger List in 2007 because of threats posed by invasive species, unbridled tourism and over-fishing. The Committee found that significant progress had been made by Ecuador in addressing these problems. It welcomed the Government's continuing efforts to strengthen conservation measures, especially in dealing with introduced species.

  23. On 30 July 2010 the World Heritage Committee inscribed the Everglades National Park (United States) on the List of World Heritage in Danger , because of serious and continuing degradation of its aquatic ecosystem.

  24. The World Heritage Committee holding its 34th session chaired by João Luiz da Silva Ferreira, the Minister of Culture of Brazil, has inscribed the Rainforests of Atsinanana (Madagascar) on the List of World Heritage in Danger because of illegal logging and hunting of endangered lemurs on the site.

  25. Marine species of August 2010 in the International Year of Biodiversity is the Antarctic is the Fragilariopsis kerguelensis.

  26. On 30 August 2010 the German Weather Service (DWD) announced, that Germany has experienced its wettest August on record. About 157 litres per square metre had fallen on average across the nation. That compares with the average over many years of just 77 litres per square metre. August 2010 had the highest rainfall for that month since records started being kept in 1881.

  27. On 4 August, 2010 the Federal government adopted a national renewable energy action plan. The action plan outlines that the binding domestic target of an 18 percent share of renewable energies in gross domestic energy consumption will be reached by 2020 and may even be surpassed and amount to 19.6 percent. Currently this share is about 10 percent. The national renewable energy action plan is the core element of reporting obligations laid down in the EU's Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC). Based on a specific template EU member states must submit a national renewable energy action plan, including measures and expansion strategies geared towards achieving the binding national target. The national action plan was drawn up with the scientific support of the German Aerospace Center in Stuttgart (DLR), Ecofys consultants, the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ).

  28. The Government of Myanmar formally announced on 3 August 2010 that the entire Hukaung Valley would be declared a Protected Tiger Area. Isolated in Myanmar, the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve stretches approximately 8,452 square miles in the northernmost part of the country. The Valley is known as a tiger reserve with the potential of holding several hundred tigers, but illegal hunting both of tigers and their prey has caused a steep decline in their numbers with some estimates showing as few as 50 of the big cats in the region. In 2004, the Myanmar government designated 2,500 square miles of the Hukaung Valley as an inviolate wildlife sanctuary, based off of the first ever biological expedition of the area in 1999 led by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz.

  29. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has commissioned the Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (Association for Plant and Reactor Safety, GRS) to carry out a preliminary safety analysis for Gorleben and summarise all available information on the salt dome and the results of exploration activities to date. The main goal of the project is to develop a clearly documented forecast, on the basis of existing information, of whether the Gorleben site can comply with the new safety requirements for the final disposal of heat-generating, radioactive waste. The focus of the preliminary safety analysis will be on the question of long-term safety, i.e. it must be demonstrated in a transparent way whether the site is suited for safe final disposal at all, and if so, under which conditions. Moreover, an optimised final disposal concept will be developed, taking into account operational safety, and the future need for additional examination and exploration will be assessed. The preliminary safety analysis is expected to be concluded by the end of 2012.

  30. On Aug. 5, 2010, an enormous chunk of ice, about 251 square kilometers (97 square miles) in size, or roughly four times the size of Manhattan, broke off the Petermann Glacier along the northwestern coast of Greenland. The Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 70-kilometer-long (40-miles) floating ice shelf, according to researchers at the University of Delaware, Newark, Dela. The recently calved iceberg is the largest to form in the Arctic in 50 years.

  31. On 6 August 2010 more stringent air quality standards applied in Germany. This is to transpose the new EU Directive on Ambient Air Quality into German law. For the first time, the Directive sets standards for fine particles (with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres; PM2.5), which are particularly dangerous to human health. With the 8th Act Amending the Federal Immission Control Act and the 39th Ordinance Implementing the Federal Immission Control Act (Ordinance on Air Quality Standards and Emission Ceilings - 39. BImSchV), Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe is being transposed on a one-to-one basis. The Länder are responsible for the enforcement of the new provisions. One important step towards meeting the limit values can be the designation of low-emission, or environmental, zones which vehicles with high emissions must not enter. More than 40 of these low-emission zones have already been established by the Länder.

  32. On 9 August 2010 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched in New YYork a new High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability that brings together some of the world’s leading policymakers and thinkers to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable growth and low-carbon prosperity for all on a planet under increasing strain, not least from climate change. To be co-chaired by Finland’s President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma, the 21-member High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability brings together representatives from government, the private sector and civil society in countries rich and poor. The new body is expected to deliver its final report by the end of next year, ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for 2012, as well as annual conferences of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

  33. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Researchers analyzed 32 years' worth of data from several satellite instruments. They found temperatures plummeted to record lows dozens of times in clusters of pockets near a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau. The new record of minus 136 F (minus 93.2 C) was set Aug. 10, 2010.

  34. LAVA has created two giant origami tigers made of recyclable materials, aluminium and barrisol for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The giant origami tigers are on public display at Hauptbahnhof, Berlin’s central station, until 30 August 2010. The project was commissioned by Customs House Sydney, for WWF. The artistic creations will be used to raise awareness for conservation, as there are only 3,200 tigers left, according to WWF. Each tiger measures eight feet high and 22 feet long, and weigh 200kgs. Each tiger is illuminated with sustainable LED lights, drawing inspiration from the ancient tradition of Chinese paper lantern making. The digital origami tigers have been adopted by WWF for their international Year of the Tiger Campaign.

  35. A scientific expedition to the Colombian Amazon has revealed a new species of titi monkey (Callicebus caquetensis), Conservation International announced on 12 August 2010. However, the exciting news is tinged with concern as researchers from the National University of Colombia who discovered the new primate consider it to be critically endangered due to rapid loss of the forest where it lives and its small population.

  36. On 12 August 2010 Greenpeace launched a three-month ship expedition to support independent research into the impacts of the Gulf oil disaster on marine life, as well as researching the unique environments and marine life that are at risk. The Arctic Sunrise departed from St. Petersburg, Florida.

  37. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The study, published in the 19 August 2010 issue of the Science, is the first major peer-reviewed analysis of the underwater oil plume.

  38. On 20 August 2010 the European Union ban on importing seal products went into effect, though an exception was made for groups who have filed legal challenges to the ban.

  39. In 2010, World Ecological Debt Day or Earth Overshoot Day falled on 21 August. Earth Overshoot Day, a concept devised by U.K.-based new economics foundation, marks the day when demand on ecological services begins to exceed the renewable supply.

  40. On 23 August 2010 Greenpeace was confronted by a Danish warship in the freezing seas off Greenland as the environmental group's protest ship ‘Esperanza' approached one of the world's most controversial oil drilling projects operated by the British company Cairn Energy. The Greenpeace ship left London 12 days ago vowing to challenge the oil industry at the site of a dangerous deepwater drilling project in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but didn't reveal its intended location until 23 August when the ship arrived in the seas west of Disko Island in the Arctic. The Danish government has sent warship, to protect two drilling sites being operated by Britain's Cairn Energy. There is a 500m security zone surrounding each of the rigs.