1. On 2 December 2010 the Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2010 were revealed during an outdoor celebration that took place in front of financial winner's office ISDA in Brussels. In the climate category, German energy giant RWE’s subsidiary npower, nominated for claiming to be green while lobbying to keep its dirty coal- and oil-fired power plants open, won with 58% of the total vote. BusinessEurope took second place with 24% of the total votes and Arcelor-Mittal came in third with 18% of the total votes. The Worst EU Lobbying Awards were born in 2005 out of the willingness of four organisations – Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Lobby Control and Spinwatch – to publicise their campaigning on transparency and lobbying through a publicly appealing event.

  2. With the slogan “Biodiversity is Life. Biodiversity is our Life”, the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) won the coveted 2010 Green Award for best Global Campaign in recognition of the strength of a campaign that inspired activities throughout the world that showcase the value and beauty of biodiversity. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has served as the United Nations’ focal point for the Year. The award ceremony took place at London’s Natural History Museum on 2 December 2010 with more than 400 guests. The ceremony was attended by Sir David Attenborough, Britain’s best loved naturalist with more than 50 years of broadcast experience including the BBC Life series. Sir David Attenborough received the lifetime achievement award.

  3. The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top 3 warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2010 (January–October) is currently estimated at 0.55°C ± 0.11°C1 (0.99°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. The final ranking of 2010 will not become clear until November and December data are analysed in early 2011. Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C above the 1961-1990 average, 0.03°C above the 2000-09 average and the highest value ever recorded for a 10-year period.

  4. New rules to prevent illegal timber being sold on the European market have come into force across the EU. The legislation will strengthen efforts to halt illegal logging which causes serious environmental damage and biodiversity loss and undermines the efforts of those trying to manage forests responsibly. The Regulation, which was first proposed by the Commission in 2008, was adopted by the EU last month and will apply in all Member States from March 2013. The new Regulation will ban the sale on the EU market of illegal timber or of products derived from illegally harvested timber.

  5. On 8 December 2010 Federal President Christian Wulff signed the four laws of the energy and climate package and ordered the laws to be promulgated. The package includes the controversial 11th amendment of the Atomic Energy Act (Atomgesetz – AtG) with the extension of the operating times of the German nuclear power plants.

  6. On 10 December 2010 the Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published the report 'Environmental statistics and accounts in Europe'. This publication covers key environmental statistics available at Eurostat, the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission and the European Environment Agency.

  7. On 11 December 2010 the Climate Change Conference in Cancún agreed on a comprehensive package of measures. The Cancún package includes mitigation action by developed and developing countries, the establishment of a Green Climate Fund and arrangements on adaptation to the consequences of climate change, forest conservation, technological cooperation and capacity building in developing countries. A procedure was agreed to review which additional measures will be needed to meet the two-degree target. Moreover, basic agreements were made regarding the transparency of countries’ climate protection activities. The developed countries have pledged to mobilise 100 billion US dollars annually from 2020 for climate protection measures in developing countries.

  8. According to most recent measurements, the volume of radioactively contaminated saline solution which is collected in front of emplacement chamber 8 on the 750-m level of the Asse mine has doubled from four to eight litres per day compared to the amount measured half a year ago. The radiological analyses carried out on a regular basis show that the activity concentration of caesium-137 has increased from 2.4 to about 4.3 kilobecquerel per litre in the same period of time. Solutions that need to be pumped out of the collecting point are preliminarily stored underground in containers. The solution probably enters the mine through the overburden and takes up radionuclides on its path through chamber 8. In chamber 8, 11,278 waste packages containing low-level radioactive waste are being stored. The solution has been observed since 1991.

  9. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on 15 December 2010 that the Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit against nine defendants in the matter of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The lawsuit asks the court for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and to declare eight of the defendants liable without limitation under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources.

  10. A representative survey polling 2008 people which the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) carried out in Spring 2010 revealed that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (62 percent) believe that the state should do more to protect the environment. 61 percent are in favour of Germany assuming a pioneering role in international climate protection policy. 85 percent agreed with the statement: “We need a resolute switch to renewable energies“. About three-quarters expect achievement of the environmental policy goal to increase energy efficiency through greater involvement of the state, e.g. cutting ecologically harmful subsidisation policies.

  11. A new international body aimed at catalyzing a global response to the loss of biodiversity and world's economically-important forests, coral reefs and other ecosystems was born on 21 December 2010 by governments at the United Nations 65th General Assembly (UNGA). The adoption, by the UNGA plenary, was the last approval needed for setting up an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Governments gave a green light to its establishment in June at a meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), but this required a resolution to be passed at the UNGA.

  12. On 20 December 2010 the EU Environment Council gave the green light for new provisions on CO2 emissions in light commercial vehicles. By 2020, these vehicles must reduce their emissions by around 27 percent on average, to 147 grams CO2 per kilometre travelled (about 5.6 litres of diesel). Moreover, an interim target of 175 grams CO2 per kilometre (around 6.7 litres of diesel) has been set for 2017. This will be introduced gradually from 2014. As an incentive to comply with the targets, vehicle manufacturers will face severe fines if they exceed them. The new Regulation also contains incentives for vehicles with particularly low CO2 emissions, such as plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition, innovative technologies which bring further fuel savings - eco-innovations - are also being supported, for instance, LED lights or improved heat management for engines.

  13. Beginning in the year 2011, Ukraine plans to open up the sealed zone around the Chernobyl reactor to visitors who wish to learn more about the tragedy that occurred nearly a quarter of a century ago, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on 20 December 2010. Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova said experts are developing travel routes that will be both medically safe and informative for Ukrainians as well as foreign visitors. She did not give an exact date when the tours were expected to begin.

  14. On 21 December 2010 the European Commission presented draft legislation to strengthen rules on the control of major accident hazards involving chemicals. The revision of the so-called Seveso II Directive will align the legislation to changes in EU chemicals law and will clarify and update other provisions. This includes introducing stricter inspection standards and improving the level and quality of information available to the public in the event of an accident. The new Directive should apply from 1 June 2015.

  15. As the 2010 United Nations International Year of Biodiversity comes to a close, the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) announce the completion of The Plant List. This landmark international resource is a working list of all land plant species, fundamental to understanding and documenting plant diversity and effective conservation of plants. The completion of The Plant List accomplishes Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), which called for a widely accessible working list of known plant species as a step towards a complete world flora. The Plant List can be accessed by visiting www.theplantlist.org.

  16. The German environment associations NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) has named Jürgen Großmann, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) RWE AG, as its “Dinosaur of the Year” in 2010. NABU has presented the award every year to personalities who distinguish themselves with “antiquated ideas about environmental protection” since 1993.