The UNEP Year Book 2012 looks in detail at a number of environmental challenges. It reports that scientists and policy-makers have made important progress in addressing some of the world’s most urgent environmental issues through new research and investments.
The 2012 Year Book reviews some the most important events and developments during the previous year, provides a selection of key environmental indicators, and closely examines two emerging issues: the benefits of soil carbon, and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Published annually, the Year Book is intended to strengthen the science-policy interface.
2011 saw a number of environmental extremes, including record extreme weather and climate events and increasing degradation of marine ecosystems. However, progress was made towards new investments in renewable energy, with continued investment needed to transition to a green economy.
The carbon in soils provides multiple benefits, especially in enhancing food production and regulating our climate. Effective management of soils is important for maintaining and even enhancing soil carbon content, in a way that will meet the food, water and energy demands of a growing population.
The number of nuclear power reactors that are set to be decommissioned is increasing. The scale of the task ahead will require careful planning and co-ordination to ensure that decommissionings are carried out safely and cost-effectively.
Global environmental trends that illustrate the state of our environment can be inferred using several key indicators. These indicators bring to light a number of positive trends, but also highlight the need to address mounting challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and land and soil degradation.