1. The world's experts on Antarctic marine conservation have agreed to establish a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica's Ross Sea. This week at the Meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart, Australia, all Member countries have agreed to a joint USA/New Zealand proposal to establish a 1.55 million km2 area of the Ross Sea with special protection from human activities. This new MPA, to come into force in December 2017, will limit, or entirely prohibit, certain activities in order to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives. Seventy-two percent of the MPA will be a 'no-take' zone, which forbids all fishing, while other sections will permit some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.

  2. In a landmark decision for both the environment and human health, 1 January 2020 has been set as the implementation date for a significant reduction in the sulphur content of the fuel oil used by ships. The decision to implement a global sulphur cap of 0.50% m/m (mass/mass) in 2020 was taken by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the regulatory authority for international shipping, during its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), meeting for its 70th session in London. It represents a significant cut from the 3.5% m/m global limit currently in place and demonstrates a clear commitment by IMO to ensuring shipping meets its environmental obligations.

  3. EU Commission plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of six key pollutants, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, were endorsed by Parliament on 28 October 2015. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU yearly, and the plans could save up to €40bn in air pollution costs by 2030. MEPs approved the proposed caps for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), methane (CH4) ammonia (NH3), and fine particulates (PM, less than 2.5 micrometers), to be achieved by 2020 and 2030, as proposed by the Commission. MEPs want the future national emission ceiling (NEC) directive to contribute to the reduction of mercury emissions in the Union, but an impact assessment should be carried out before national emission reduction commitments are determined.

  4. Eastern Europe countries have categorically rejected the target put forward by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2100 to avoid dangerous global warming, leaked documents show. On 2 November 2014, the IPCC said that fossil fuels must be entirely phased out by the end of the century to keep temperatures from rising as high as 5C above pre-industrial levels, a level that would have catastrophic impacts worldwide. On 28 October 2014, a few days before the IPCC synthesis report was published, EU environment and energy ministers meeting in Brussels were presented with a proposal by states including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany to incorporate the IPCC target into EU policy. However, it was judged not to have “sufficient support” because of opposition from Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Latvia who “categorically rejected” it, according to a internal briefing note seen by the Guardian.

  5. Despite public protests and angry diatribes from the opposition, the German parliament has approved legislation extending the lifespan of the country's nuclear power plants.

  6. Headed by Prof. Dr. Peter Lemke from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, eight research centres of the Helmholtz Association have joined together in the network REKLIM. The network is equipped with a budget of 32.2 million Euros during the years 2009 to 2013.

  7. Toxic waste from the Turkish vessel Gulser Ana which went down off the coast in southern Madagascar in August 2009 has had severe impacts on the health of local people and on the rich coastal and marine environment, according to a study supported by WWF.While one to three whales normally beach in the area each year, nine whales beached in September alone, and some beach stretches seem to be real death zones, the report found.

  8. ECHA has included 15 substances in the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for authorisation. The list was published on ECHA website on 28 October 2008. From 28 October 2008, EU & EEA suppliers of articles which contain substances on the Candidate List in a concentration above 0.1% (w/w) must provide sufficient information, available to them, to their customers and on request to consumers within 45 days of the receipt of this request. This information must ensure safe use of the article and, as a minimum, include the name of the substance.