1. Verified emissions of greenhouse gases from EU businesses participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell 11.6 % in 2009 compared with a 2008, according to the information provided by Member State registries. The drop in emissions is in line with widely held expectations and analyst forecasts provided months ahead of the data release. It is attributed to several factors. Firstly, the reduced economic activity as a result of the recession and secondly, the low level of gas prices throughout 2009 which has made it much more attractive to produce power from gas rather than more emitting coal.

  2. On 18 May 2010 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), and nine leading environmental organizations, unveiled an unprecedented agreement – the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – that applies to 72 million hectares of public forests licensed to FPAC members. The Agreement, when fully implemented, will conserve significant areas of Canada’s vast Boreal Forest, protect threatened woodland caribou and provide a competitive market edge for participating companies.

  3. On 18 May 2010 a recast of The Directive on energy performance of buildings (2002/91/EC) was adopted in order to strengthen the energy performance requirements and to clarify and streamline some of its provisions (the Directive is expected to be published in the Official Journal in June).

  4. Geologists led by Brown University have determined the east African rift lake has experienced unprecedented warming during the last century, and its surface waters are the warmest on record. That finding is important, the scientists write in the journal Nature Geoscience, because the warm surface waters likely will affect fish stocks upon which millions of people in the region depend. The team took core samples from the lakebed that laid out a 1,500-year history of the lake’s surface temperature. The data showed the lake’s surface temperature, 26 degrees Celsius is the warmest the lake has been for a millennium and a half.

  5. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) have started their cooperation in human biomonitoring, in order to improve the knowledge of substances taken up by the human organism. The focus is on substances that might involve increasing exposure of the public at large or can have special relevance to human health without, however, being measurable in the human body with currently available methods. Against this backdrop, there are plans to develop over the next 10 years adequate analytical methods for up to 50 jointly selected substances or substance groups and to apply newly developed methods in relevant studies. Joint activities begin with a three-year trial and pilot phase. The VCI is in charge of the development of detection methods, which the BMU will put to the test in suitable studies. In these efforts, the BMU will closely work with the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

  6. On 14 May 2010, the “Gardens of the World” in the Marzahn Recreational Park were honored with the British Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award® scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales. It was first launched in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country. The first awards were given in 1997.

  7. In early May 2010, the body of one of the last Javan rhinos in Vietnam was found in Cat Tien National Park . The animal had been shot and its horn removed by poachers. It is now uncertain how many, if any, Javan rhinos are left in Vietnam. Vietnam’s Javan rhinos are one of only two populations of the species left on Earth. Official estimates say there are fewer than 60 Javan rhinos left. The largest population of approximately 40-60 is found in Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia. There are no Javan rhinos in captivity in the world.

  8. On 10 May 2010, the third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook is being launched in a number of cities around the world, including Alexandria, Bonn, Brasilia, Chamonix, London, Manama, Montreal, New York, Nairobi, Panama, and Tokyo. The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The report is based on scientific assessments, national reports submitted by governments and a study on future scenarios for biodiversity. Subject to an extensive independent scientific review process, publication of GBO-3 is one of the principal milestones of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity.

  9. On 6 May 2010 the German Bundestag adopted the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). It significantly reduces the feed-in tariffs for solar power generated by installations on buildings and in open spaces as per 1 July 2010. The amendment provides for further reductions of the feed-in tariffs in addition to the original degression rate stipulated in the EEG: 11 per cent for solar farms on land converted from other uses (conversion areas) and 16 per cent for roof installations. At the same time the EEG assumes a much wider expansion of the photovoltaic market than previously expected. The targeted market volume was doubled to 3,500 MW installed photovoltaic peak capacity per annum. The proposed cuts in tariffs are appropriate. The expanded financial incentive for consumers themselves to use the solar power they generated will trigger further technical innovation. In contrast to previous EEG stipulations, open space installations will continue to be promoted beyond 1 January 2015. Conversion areas allowing for tariffs pursuant to the EEG will also comprise land converted from residential building or transport use in addition to land converted from agricultural or military use. Open space installations can now also be promoted in a 100 m wide strip along the kerbside of motorways or rail tracks. The category arable land will not apply beyond 1 July 2010. There will be transitional stipulations for open space installations which have already reached an advanced planning stage.

  10. To protect water resources and biological diversity, MEPs want the Commission to propose a complete ban on the use of cyanide mining technologies in the EU before the end of 2011. They also believe companies dealing with the management of waste from the extractive industries should be forced to take out insurance to cover costs in the event of an accident and that mining projects in the EU involving cyanide technology should receive no support from the Commission or Member States. In a resolution adopted on 6. May 2010 by 488 votes to 48 with 57 abstentions, Parliament argues that a complete ban "is the only safe way to protect our water resources and ecosystems against cyanide pollution from mining activities". It urges the development and application of safer – in particular cyanide-free – mining.

  11. On 5 May 2010 the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and KfW Banking Group celebrated the 30th anniversary of the BMU’s Environmental Innovation Programme. The Programme supports pilot projects applying state-of-the-art technologies in Germany on a large scale. Around 700 million euros have been provided for more than 700 pilot projects since the start of the Programme. The Environmental Innovation Programme was launched in 1979. At the time, the aim was to achieve "blue skies over the Ruhr". At the beginning, the focus of support was on end-of-pipe cleaning technologies, such as air filters and waste water treatment facilities. Today, this focus has shifted to integrated environmental protection measures and activities in the areas of renewable energies and energy efficiency. These projects will improve the environmental situation, contribute to achieving the German Government’s climate protection goals, offer insights for updating environmental legislation and give fresh impetus to economic and employment policies.

  12. The children from the student initiative Plant-for-the-Planet are seeking to plant a million trees in every country, each tree symbolizing climate justice. In Germany, their goal has been achieved: On the 4th of May, 2010 the millionth tree was planted on Mt. Petersberg. This occurred alongside the Petersberg climate dialogue, the preparatory meeting for the climate summit in December 2010 in Cancun, Mexico.

  13. Germany and Mexico invited environment and climate ministers from 43 countries to attend informal discussions from 2 to 4 May 2010 on the Petersberg near Bonn. The Petersberg Climate Dialogue has brought new momentum to the international climate negotiations. Germany's Environment Minister Röttgen commented at the end of the conference: "These two-and-a-half days of intensive discussions have clearly shown that there is broad consensus among the international community. I am delighted that with the Petersberg Climate Dialogue we have succeeded in holding an open exchange in a constructive atmosphere of trust. This is a good basis for further cooperation and sets us off on the road to an ambitious UN climate agreement."

  14. Marine species of May 2010 in the International Year of Biodiversity is the diatom Guinardia delicatula.

  15. United Nations peacekeepers in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have airlifted four endangered gorillas to a safer habitat to keep them from being illegally trafficked or eaten before they are released back into the wild. Three young females and a male named – all eastern lowland gorillas – flew by helicopter for 50 minutes on Tuesday with veterinarians and other caregivers from Goma to a village near the heavily forested Tanya Nature Reserve in north Kivu province. The decision to move the gorillas by air was made after scientists said ground transportation would be too difficult and traumatic. The four gorillas, victims of illegal trafficking in wildlife and bushmeat, will be joined in early June by six adolescent orphans flown by MONUC from Rwanda.

  16. Germany’s first offshore wind farm "alpha ventus" officially starts up on 27 April 2010 in the North Sea. Alpha ventus was constructed 45 kilometres off the coast of the island of Borkum.

  17. On 24 April 2010 around 120,000 nuclear protesters formed a 120-kilometer human chain that stretched from a nuclear power plant in Brunsbuettel, through Hamburg along the Elbe River to another plant in Kruemmel. The protest come just days before 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

  18. After intensive negotiations, two German environmental groups – BUND Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania and WWF Germany – have reached an agreement with Nord Stream AG on further far-reaching environmental steps to protect the Baltic Sea. Plans for the long-term storage of excavation material from construction works at the landfall, and for environmental monitoring during construction have been modified. Furthermore, an additional “close season” of ten days for herring has been agreed for next year.

  19. Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven has been awarded the 50,000 € “Bayer Climate Award 2010” by the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. He is being honoured for his groundbreaking research and pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of sea ice in the climate system. Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Bayer AG, presented Lemke with the award at the international climate conference “Continents under climate change” organized by the Humboldt University, in Berlin on April 22, 2010. An independent international board of experts selected the winner from 16 candidates, nominated by the presidents of major European research associations.

  20. The current national emissions-reduction pledges accompanying the Copenhagen Accord will not limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. In fact, they imply a global mean temperature increase of more than three degrees Celsius this century. This is reported by a team of researchers led by Joeri Rogelj and Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the current edition of the journal “Nature”.

  21. Scientists have discovered more than 123 new species in the Heart of Borneo area during the past 3 years – an average of more than 3 new species per month. These fascinating finds include the world’s longest known stick insect, a flame-coloured snake and a colour-changing frog. In total, 67 plants, 29 invertebrates, 17 fish, five frogs, three snakes and two lizards and a brand new species of bird have been discovered. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the list of the discovered species on 22 April 2010.

  22. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the largest marine oil spill in history, and was caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform about 80km off the coast of Louisiana on 20 April 2010. On 22 April 2010 the Deepwater Horizon sank in about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of water. After a series of failed efforts to plug the leak, BP said on 15 July 2010 that it had capped the well, stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in 86 days. Five million barrels of oil were released by the Macondo well, with roughly 4.2 million barrels pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

  23. The federal Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB), Germany’s archive documenting environmental quality, provides exhaustive public information. Since 1981 it has collected environmental and human specimens which it analyses for pollutant substances, and put them in long-term storage. The new web application at www.umweltprobenbank.de provides private citizens, scientists, policy and administration officials alike with user-friendly and easily navigable access to topics and data contained in the ESB. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has operated the Environmental Specimen Bank on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Environment for over 30 years. It comprises one of the central components of environmental observation in Germany. Regular sampling occurs in 13 typical areas within six different eco-system types. Students from the universities of Münster, Halle, Greifswald, and Ulm make annual donations of blood and urine samples to the ESB. The representative environmental and human samples have in part been stored permanently since 1981. This allows retrospective trend analyses of substances for which there was no verification procedure at the time of sampling, or which were mistakenly considered harmless at the time. A public ESB web application has existed since 2000. This new look lends a new and appropriate outfit to the familiar theme.

  24. On 19 April 2010 Germany's Federal Environmental Agency announced, that its high-altitude observatories had registered a drastic rise in fine dust in the air. On Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, in the Alps, the reading was eight times the long-term average.

  25. The Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for the First World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (WPCCC) to be held in Bolivia. The conference took place April 19-22 near the city of Cochabamba.

  26. Europe's first mission dedicated to studying the Earth’s ice was launched on 8 April 2010 from Kazakhstan. From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change and the role it plays in our Earth system. The CryoSat-2 satellite was launched at 15:57 CEST (13:57 UTC) on a Dnepr rocket provided by the International Space Company Kosmotras from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The signal confirming that it had separated from the launcher came 17 minutes later from the Malindi ground station in Kenya. CryoSat-2 replaces the original CryoSat satellite that was lost in 2005 owing to a launch failure. The mission objectives, however, remain the same: to measure changes in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Antarctica and Greenland, as well as variations in the thickness of the relatively thin ice floating in the polar oceans.

  27. On 7 April 2010 the Solar Impulse HB-SIA underwent an extended 87 minute test flight. The flight reached an altitude of 1,200 m (3,937 ft). The Solar Impulse is designed by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard's team - there are plans to fly it around the world in 2012.

  28. On 3 April 2010 the Chinese-registered coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on a reef about 70km east of Great Keppel Island, Queensland Australia, and ruptured its fuel tanks. The Vessel, which was carrying about 65.000 tonnes of coal, has 950 tonnes of oil on board.

  29. Marine species of April 2010 in the International Year of Biodiversity is the unicellular alga Emiliania huxleyi.

  30. On 30 April 2010 a French appeals court upheld Total's conviction in the 1999 sinking of the tanker Erika off the coast of Brittany.

  31. On 29 MArch 2010 Russia signed a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to set up the world's first nuclear fuel bank of low-enriched uranium for countries that need fuel for civilian purposes, including nuclear power plants.

  32. On 26 March 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposal under the Clean Water Act to significantly restrict or prohibit mountain top mining at the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in Logan County, W. Va. Spruce No.1 mine is one of the largest mountaintop removal operations ever proposed in Central Appalachia. The project was permitted in 2007 and subsequently delayed by litigation. The Spruce No. 1 mine would bury over 7 miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forestland and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine. EPA’s proposed determination comes after extended discussions with the company failed to produce an agreement that would lead to a significant decrease of the environmental and health impacts of the Spruce No. 1 mine. EPA has used its Clean Water Act veto authority in just 12 circumstances since 1972 and never for a previously permitted project.

  33. Above average sea temperatures throughout the early part of 2010 have led to the first recorded major coral bleaching event at Lord Howe Island, the world’s southern-most coral reef. Water temperatures have exceeded 26-27 degrees over the last few months, which is a couple of degrees warmer than the usual summer sea temperature, leading to mild to moderate bleaching in some parts of the reef system and almost total coral bleaching in other areas. The reef lies within the Lord Howe Island Marine Park and is part of the Lord Howe Island World Heritage site.

  34. Portuguese authorities have announced the establishment of four marine protected areas on the extended continental shelves of the Azores as well as mainland Portugal. The four sites – on the southern Mid Atlantic Ridge, Altair Seamount, Antialtair Seamount and Josephine Bank - together cover an area of 120,000 square km rich in vulnerable deepwater communities, including cold-water coral reefs, sponge fields, coral gardens, and deep sea bony fish, sharks and rays. The announcement of marine protected area status was made at an international North Atlantic environmental commission (OSPAR Convention) meeting attended by UN fisheries and seabed agencies in Funchal, Madeira. It follows three of the four sites being declared off limits to the use of destructive bottom fishing gear just under a year ago.

  35. The signatories to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have come one important step closer to a global agreement on biopiracy. Delegates from the 194 states met in Cali, Colombia, and agreed on a common basis for negotiation of an international regime on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources. Its purpose is to create a global legal framework that regulates both access to genetic resources and the distribution of the profits made through their commercial use.

  36. The Plastiki and crew have reached the end of their voyage which has taken them through the Pacific Ocean on an 8,000 nautical mile adventure lasting over 130 days. On 26 July 2010 the team arrived on at Sydney’s Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour.

  37. The cinema documentary THE 4TH REVOLUTION – EnergyAutonomy describes the possibility to switch to 100% renewables within the next 30 years by telling the stories of its protagonists, a prominent environmental activist, Nobel laureates, innovative businessmen and politicians. It demonstrates the opportunities which will be provided by the energy revolution regarding the sustainable economic development and social and economic fairness. The film was launched in German cinemas on 18 March 2010.

  38. Representatives of the Dutch, Danish and German governments meeting on 18 March 2010 in Westerland/Sylt agreed on new impetus for the protection of the Wadden Sea. At the conference, which was attended by over 130 international participants, the three partners of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation adopted a management plan for the entire Wadden Sea. Decisive action will now be taken against invasive alien species and the major challenges resulting from climate change. For the Wadden Sea ecosystem and for mankind it is vital to facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change through a package of measures. At the conclusion of the conference the governments of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany agreed on a joint political programme for the coming 3 years geared towards even better protection of the common ecosystem. The conference on Sylt included the signing of a modernised founding document for the Cooperation and a new administrative agreement for the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. In future, a newly established Wadden Sea Board will take on the strategic leadership of the Wadden Sea Cooperation. This board will be comprised of representatives of the three governments - or in Germany's case the Wadden Sea federal Länder - as well as two representatives from the nature conservation associations and the Wadden Sea Forum, an independent platform of stakeholders in the region. With the conclusion of the Sylt Conference, the presidency of the Wadden Sea Cooperation passes from Germany to Denmark.

  39. The German Meteorological Service has defined the Brocken observatory as climate reference station for climate observations. Twelve National Reference Stations (Aachen, Brocken, Fichtelberg, Frankfurt/Main, Görlitz, Helgoland, Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel, Hohenpeissenberg, Konstanz, Lindenberg, Potsdam and Schleswig)were established in the national network to monitor climate developments.

  40. Habitat loss is having a serious impact on Europe’s butterflies, beetles and dragonflies. The release of the European Red List, commissioned by the European Commission, shows that nine percent of butterflies, 11 percent of saproxylic beetles (beetles that depend on decaying wood) and 14 percent of dragonflies are threatened with extinction within Europe. Some species are so threatened that they are at risk of global extinction and are now included in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Today’s studies reveal that nearly a third (31 percent) of Europe’s 435 butterfly species have declining populations and 9 percent are already threatened with extinction.