1. On 26 March 2011 a group of Greenpeace radiation experts started monitoring locations around the evacuation area that surrounds the crisis-stricken Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, in order to assess the true extent of radiation risks to the local population. On 27 March 2011 Greenpeace confirmed radiation levels of up to ten micro Sieverts per hour in Litate village, 40km northwest of the crisis-stricken Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, and 20km beyond the official evacuation zone. These levels are high enough to require evacuation.

  2. On 26 March 2011 more than 200,000 protesters took to the streets around Germany to protest against nuclear power. Organizers said 250,000 people took part in demonstrations in four major cities marching under the banner "Fukushima Means: No More Nuclear Power Stations."

  3. On 25 March 2011 European Union leaders at a summit in Brüssel agreed to carry out continent-wide stress-tests for nuclear plants until the end of the year. The European Commission will develop the tests, which will be carried out by national safety authorities. The results will be made public by the end of 2011.

  4. The Canadian government on Friday announced an increase in the number of seals to be killed in a controversial commercial hunt off its Atlantic coast. The quota was hiked 20 percent from last year's 388,200 seals to a total of 468,200, including 400,000 harp seals and 60,000 grey seals. The hooded seals quota stayed at 8,200.

  5. The Global Nature Fund takes the World Water Day (22nd March) as an opportunity to choose a "Living Lake" in Germany each year. This action is designed to attract the attention to our lakes as precious ecosystems and unique natural treasures. This initiative is based on long, successful experience in the international action „Threatened Lake of the Year" and is meant to contribute to the solution of pressing problems at lakes and wetlands.

  6. On 22 March 2011, the Global Nature Fund (GNF) announced, for the first time, the choice of Lake Plau in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania as "Living Lake of the Year". The lake has been selected by the members of the network Living Lakes Germany, which was founded in 2009 by the GNF. Lake Plau, the seventh largest lake of Germany, is the first "Living Lake of the Year".

  7. E.ON’s nuclear power plant Unterweser stopped at 3:33 a.m. Berlin time on 18 March 2011, according to data the company published on its website.

  8. On 18 March 2011 the Federal Council of Germany cleared the European Law Alignment Act for Renewable Energies (EAG EE). The act transposes Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, but most importantly cuts solar feed-in tariffs and the so-called green power privilege pursuant to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

  9. RWE Power took the Biblis A power plant off grid yesterday at 22.21 p.m. after instruction from the Hessian Ministry for Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection to decommission the plant for three months. Against the backdrop of events in Japan, the German Federal Government has agreed with the Federal States to temporarily decommission the seven nuclear power plants commissioned before 1980. While decommissioned, the German nuclear power plants are to undergo an additional safety inspection.

  10. On 16 March 2011 the shutdown procedure for unit I of Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (GKN I) and unit 1 of Philippsburg nuclear power plant (KKP 1) started evening and they were taken offline overnight. EnBW Kernkraft GmbH (EnKK), the operator, had previously received the respective directives from the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport in Baden-Württemberg. These directives provide for a temporary discontinuation of operation of the plants for a period of three months. The directives were issued with reference to the current events in Japanese nuclear power plants.

  11. On 17 March 2011 E.ON suspended the operation of its oldest nuclear power station Isar-1 for the duration of the German government’s moratorium.

  12. MS Oliva ran aground on Nightingale Island on 16th March 2011. All 22 crew were rescued by 17th March before the ship broke up and Nightingale Island is now facing an environmental disaster.

  13. The nuclear aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Japan marks a defining moment - for Japan and for the entire world. The Federal Government and the Minister-Presidents of the Federal Länder where nuclear power plants are located therefore decided to subject all of Germany’s nuclear power plants to a safety review. Furthermore, the seven oldest German nuclear power plants are to be taken off the grid for three months.

  14. Ontario Power Generation notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) at 11:33 pm on March 14, 2011, that there was a release of 73,000 litres of demineralized water at the Pickering A nuclear generating station earlier that day, due to a pump seal failure. The radiological risk to the environment and people's health is negligible.

  15. On 14 March 2011 Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged a three-month pause in her government's plan to extend the running times of Germany's nuclear power plants.

  16. The effects of the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated areas of Japan can be seen as far away as Antarctica. Satellite images show new icebergs were created after the tsunami hit the Sulzberger Ice Shelf. Using radar images acquired by ESA’s Envisat satellite, a NASA team was able to spot the icebergs – the largest measuring about 6.5 by 9.5 km in surface area and about 80 m in thickness. The findings were published in the online Journal of Glaciology on 8 August 2011.

  17. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, officially named the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred on Friday, 11 March 2011. The earthquake triggered a tsunami that devasted Japan´north-eastern coast and caused a number of nuclear accidents.

  18. An earthquake of magnitude 9.0 hit north-east Japan followed by a series of powerful aftershocks and Tsunamis. The epicentre of the earthquake is located 400 km away from the capital Tokyo at a depth of 32 km. The earthquake occurred at 14:46 local time (05:46 GMT) on March 11. The areas most affected are the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate.

  19. The introduction of the new E 10 fuel has run into major problems. On 3 March 2011 Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Rainer Brüderle announced to arrange an “E 10 fuel summit”.

  20. On 4 March 2011 NASA's Glory mission launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 5:09:45 a.m. EST failed to reach orbit. Telemetry indicated the fairing, the protective shell atop the Taurus XL rocket, did not separate as expected about three minutes after launch. The new Earth-observing satellite was intended to improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate.

  21. On 4 March 2011, 214 members of the parliamentary groups of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Alliance ’90/The Greens (Greens) submitted a request to the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) to review the constitutionality of the 11th and 12th amendment of the Atomic Energy Act (AtG), which lead to an extension of the operating times of the 17 German nuclear power plants.

  22. Germany has been an active participant in conservation efforts in the Antarctic since 3 March 1981, the date it was granted full voting rights in the Antarctic Treaty. This international treaty has regulated the use of the Antarctic environment for strictly peaceful purposes and for scientific research of its perpetual ice since 1961. The Antarctic requires special protection since it is a natural ecosystem as yet largely untouched by man, but of great scientific and aesthetic value. To date, 48 countries have committed to the preservation of the Antarctic.

  23. On 2 March 2011 a court in Brazil approved a controversial hydro-electric project in the Amazon rainforest, overturning an earlier ruling. In 25 February 2011 a judge blocked construction of the Belo Monte dam, saying it did not meet environmental standards. But a higher court on Thursday said there was no need for all conditions to be met in order for work to begin.

  24. On 2 March 2011, coordinated by the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS), the Aphekom project released the results of 3 years of work on air pollution and its impact on health conducted by 60 scientists in 12 countries across Europe. Using traditional health impact assessment methods, Aphekom (Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision Making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe) has showed that a decrease to WHO’s annual air-quality guideline on PM 2.5 fine particles (10 micrograms/cubic metre) in 25 large European cities could add up to 22 months of life expectancy for persons 30 years of age and older, depending on the city and its average level of PM 2.5.

  25. In March 2011, under the responsibility of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, the research project "Low Carbon Future Cities" aiming to develop and implement a comprehensive communal climate protection strategy for the Chinese city of Wuxi and for the Düsseldorf region is being launched. For this purpose, Stiftung Mercator is providing 1.65 million Euros. The new project aims to develop building blocks for urban development concepts that not only include mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, but also describe ways to reduce resource consumption and to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. This integrated approach, to be developed on this scale for the first time, should take effect far beyond the participating conurbations and stimulate the sustainable development of cities of the future.

  26. Germany has registered the sunniest and second driest spring since records began, the German Weather Service (DWD) said on 30 May 2011. “No spring on record has brought more sunshine, and only the spring of 2007 was warmer. Indeed, the months of March, April and May haven’t seen such little rainfall since 1893,” said DWD meteorologist Uwe Kirsche in a statement.

  27. On 28 February 2011 the state governments of Berlin, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg and Rhineland Palatinate, led by opposition parties, filed a lawsuit in the country's highest court, arguing that the government's extension of the lifespan of nuclear power plants should have needed their approval.

  28. The assessment of climate change mitigation cost is going to be improved. Teams of researchers from twelve countries will run their energy-economy-climate computer models against each other. The aim is to make the prognoses more informative for policy-makers who want to bring about long-term emission reductions or promote low carbon technology. On 28 February 2011, the 21 partners from China, India, Japan and nine European countries are meeting in Potsdam for the first time. The project led by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) will last three years. It is sponsored under the European Union’s seventh framework programme to a tune of three million euros.

  29. On 28 February 2011 the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) approved the first deepwater drilling permit since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill. Noble Energy’s application for a permit to bypass is for Well 2 in Mississippi Canyon Block 519, approximately 70 miles south east of Venice, La.

  30. On 17 February six substances of very high concern was moved from the candidate list to the authorisation list, known as Annex XIV, under the EU's REACH regulation (Regulation No 1907/2006 for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). The following 6 chemicals are the first entrants in the Annex XIV: 5-ter-butyl-2,4,6-trinito-m-xylene (musk xylene), 4,4'-diaminodiphenylmethane (MDA), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), bis(2-ethylexyl) phthalate (DEHP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). For each substance listed a "sunset date" is provided, ranging from 2014 to 2015. From this date the substance may only be placed on the market or used if an authorisation has been granted or an application for authorisation has been made before the "latest application date".

  31. Dramatic new video footage of two critically endangered Javan rhinos and their calves was released on 28 February 2011 by WWF-Indonesia and Indonesia’s National Park Authority. The Javan rhino is possibly the rarest mammal on the planet with as few as 40 left. Once numerous throughout Southeast Asia, its population is now likely isolated to Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. This small population size makes it extremely vulnerable to any threat, including poaching for its horn, which is traditionally believed to have medicinal properties. The video trap, installed by WWF-Indonesia and Ujung Kulon National Park Authority, captured images of the rhinos and their calves between November and December of last year in the dense tropical rainforests of Ujung Kulon National Park on the island of Java. WWF is working with Ujung Kulon National Park authorities, International Rhino Foundation, Indonesia Rhino Foundation, Asian Rhino Project, IUCN/SSC Rhino Specialist Group and local communities to protect this species from poaching, monitor the remaining rhinos, and establish a new population by relocating several individuals.

  32. As of 21 February 2011 the website of the German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) at the Federal Environment Agency has a new outfit- a modern look, easier to navigate, and more services. Site visitors can now already access their topic of choice from the homepage.

  33. On 25 February 2011 a federal court in Para state, under judge Ronaldo Desterro, halted plans for the construction of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric plant in the Amazon rainforest because environmental requirements for the project had not been met.

  34. On 24 February 2011 the German Federal Parliament approved the joint proposal for solar feed-in tariff changes in the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) agreed in late January by the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the solar industry association BSW Solar. Parts of the regular solar feed-in tariff cuts due at the beginning of 2012 are brought forward to 1 July, respectively 1 September 2011 for freestanding installations. The July/September reductions of up to 15% shall depend on PV capacity installed in March, April and May 2011.

  35. A new comprehensive analysis finds that 75 percent of the world's coral reefs are currently threatened by local and global pressures. For the first time, the analysis includes threats from climate change, including warming seas and rising ocean acidification. "Reefs at Risk Revisited" is being released by the World Resources Institute, along with the Nature Conservancy, the WorldFish Center, the International Coral Reef Action Network, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, and the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Center, along with a network of more than 25 organizations. Local pressures - especially overfishing and destructive fishing - are causing many reefs to be degraded. Global pressures are leading to coral bleaching from rising sea temperatures and increasing ocean acidification from carbon dioxide pollution. According to the new analysis, if left unchecked, more than 90 percent of reefs will be threatened by 2030 and nearly all reefs will be at risk by 2050. For the first time, the report identifies the 27 nations most socially and economically vulnerable to coral reef degradation and loss. Among these, the nine most vulnerable countries are: Haiti, Grenada, Philippines, Comoros, Vanuatu, Tanzania, Kiribati, Fiji, and Indonesia. The report is an update of "Reefs at Risk," released by WRI in 1998.

  36. On 18 February 2011 Japanese Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano announced the decision to cancel the rest of the whale hunting season in Antarctic citing repeated harassment by Sea Shepherd activists at sea.

  37. On 17 February 2011 an Icelandic-owned container ship ran aground around the islands of Hvaler on Norway’s southeast coast. The cargo vessel Godafoss was leaking oil in an area that borders the new Outer Oslo Fjord National Park. It was unknown exactly how much oil is on board the ship, built in 1995, but estimates are as much as 800 tonnes. Oil was leaking from two tanks that can contain 250 tonnes each on both sides of the ship, which currently sits lopsided where it has run aground.

  38. On 16 February 2011 the German cabinet adopted a draft act on special provisions for noise caused by children at childcare centres and play areas. The aim of this act is to further develop existing noise protection law. An amendment to the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) will ensure that noise caused by children at childcare centres, play areas and at other such establishments is generally not classified as having "harmful effects on the environment". Additionally, when assessing the impact of such noise the immission limit values and target values such as those applicable to industrial installations and sport centres must not be applied as they do not reflect the tolerance that can be expected regarding noise caused by children.

  39. On 15 February 2011 the European Parliament gave a green light for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vans, in a vote to introduce CO2 limits in the EU for new vans and other light commercial goods vehicles. The rules, agreed with Member States, include incentives to make highly-efficient vehicles as well as penalties for manufacturers that miss the targets. Parliament approved the legislation with 534 votes in favour, 117 against and 15 abstentions. The rules aim to spur innovation in industry, setting an initial target of 175g CO2/km. Under the terms of an agreed phase-in, the average emissions of 70% of a manufacturer's fleet must meet this limit in 2014 and the average of all its vehicles by 2017. The legislation also sets a limit of 147g CO2/km to be achieved by 2020.

  40. Global warming is advancing, and as a result, Germany can expect a sharp increase in extreme precipitation year in around 2040. In three decades‘time there will be considerably more damage done by floods. Lawmakers, businesses and society must make timely preparations in anticipation of the looming hazards posed by weather extremes. These are the conclusions reached in a joint research project by the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), and Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD) on the effects of global warming on extreme weather events, which was introduced on 16 February 2011 in Berlin by the four public authorities.