World, Environment

Environmental developments in January 2020

Second hottest on record in 2019, according to data collected by NOAA, NASA

Burak Bir  | 01.02.2020 - Update : 02.02.2020
Environmental developments in January 2020


The first month of 2020 saw the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA's report that 2019 was the second hottest year on record, along with steps taken around the world to combat the effects of climate change, including in Turkey, China, and Thailand.

Here is a look at environmental developments, reports, events, and stories in January:

Jan. 1:

- 2020 started as International Year of Plant Health, designated by the UN General Assembly.

- Turkey shuts down five thermal power plants and partially close one for failure to comply with the law to install filters, announced at a joint news conference by Environment Minister Murat Kurum and Energy Minister Fatih Donmez.

- Monaco bans disposable plastic cotton buds, cups, cutlery, and plates, after banning single-use plastic bags in 2016 and plastic straws and stirrers in 2019.

- Thailand begins the year with a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores, continuing a campaign launched by the government and retailers toward a complete ban in 2021 to reduce waste and debris in the sea.

Jan. 2:

- Barcelona imposes ban on older, more polluting vehicles during most of the day in a bid to reduce air pollution in Spain's second-largest city.

- A yogurt pot, produced at least 44 years ago to celebrate the 1976 Montreal Olympic, is found by environmentalists Maite Mompo on the beach in Denia, Spain.

Jan. 7:

- U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fall about 2% last year after a sharp increase in 2018, according to a study by the Rhodium Group.

Jan. 11:

- Native to Ecuador’s Galapagos Island, famous giant tortoise Diego, belonging to the Chelonoidis hoodensis species, save species from extinction as he successfully finished a captive breeding program.

- French President Emmanuel Macron announces the country may hold a referendum to tackle climate change.

Jan. 13:

- According to the latest research, published on Journal Advances In Atmospheric Sciences, heat in the world’s oceans reaches new record levels in 2019 and the past five years are the top five hottest years recorded in the ocean, and the last 10 years are the top decade on record

Jan. 14:

- BlockRock, an American global investment management corporation, announces it will put “climate change at the center of its investment strategy.” The corporation has long been accused of investing in fossil fuels.

- Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the country will send 69 additional fire management personnel to help with the devastating fires in Australia.

Jan. 15:

- 2019 was the second hottest on record globally, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

- For the first time, the Global Risks Perception Survey says environmental concerns dominate the top long-term risks by likelihood among members of the World Economic Forum’s multistakeholder community, according to the Global Risk Report 2020, released by World Economic Forum.

- YouTube actively promotes climate misinformation to millions of users, according to a report released by the U.S. based global web movement Avaaz.

- Vietnamese court jails more than 10 people for two to eight years for trading more than 200 pangolins.

Jan. 16:

- Microsoft announces by 2030 it will be carbon negative, and by 2050 it will remove from the environment all the carbon companies emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

- Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announces more than 1 million electric vehicles anticipated to be on the country’s roads by 2030.

- Germany agrees to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and compensation of $45B for four German states which have lignite mines and coal-fired power plants.

Jan. 17:

- Energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. expected to decline annually through 2021, according to the country's Energy Information Administration.

Jan. 19:

- Madagascar launches national initiative Jan. 19 to plant 60 million trees in the coming months to mark 60 years of independence in the hopes of restoring the island’s forests.

- China’s Environment Ministry announces plastic bags will be banned in major cities by end of the year and will be banned in all cities and towns in 2022.

- Scientists warn Pyrenees glaciers, located in southwest Europe that form a natural border between Spain and France, will be vanished within 30 years due to air pollution and climate change.

Jan. 20:

- International Energy Agency says in a report titled “The Oil and Gas Industry in Energy Transitions” transformation of the energy sector can happen without the oil and gas industry would be more difficult and more expensive.

- As of today, wild animal circuses are banned in England, as the government announces the expiry date from the ban on May 1, 2019.

- Turkey's honored Grandpa Earth and co-founder, honorary president of one of Turkey's foremost non-profit environmental organizations, Hayrettin Karaca dies at 97.

- UN rules those who urgently flee due to climate change cannot be sent back home.

Jan. 21:

- Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 17, addresses an event on sidelines of the 50th session of World Economic Forum in Davos; says nothing has been done on climate change since CO2 emission to the atmosphere has not reduced.

Jan. 22:

- Reporters Without Borders calls for the ‘immediate and “unconditional” release of U.S. environmental reporter Phil Jacobson, who was formally arrested Jan. 21 on a visa violation charge in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on the Indonesian island of Borneo.

- Following his speech on decarbonization at the 50th session of World Economic Forum in Davos, Prince Charles meets climate activist Greta Thunberg to discuss climate change.

Jan. 23:

- Sussex council in the U.K. bans trawler fishing along the coast to cut greenhouse emissions and to help kelp forest revival after natural historian David Attenborough-backed Help Our Kelp campaign.

Jan. 24:

- Turkey's Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli says 82 million saplings -- Equal to Turkey’s current population -- will be planted through November.

- German-based search engine Ecosia reaches 26,446 trees to plant in Australia’s Byron Bay area in New South Wales, most affected by bushfires, after a one-day tree-planting campaign through searching.

Jan. 28:

- In the first case of its kind against a private company in France, oil and gas conglomerate Total is taken to court by a group of NGOs and 14 French authorities seeking the company to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Jan. 29:

- Homero Gomez Gonzalez, known for leading efforts to preserve forests of Michoacan in central-eastern Mexico, found dead 15 days after he went missing.

- British daily The Guardian newspaper becomes the first global news organization to ban an advertisement from oil and gas companies.

- U.S. Central Bank Chairman Jerome Powell says Fed can play part in keeping global warming from destabilizing U.S. banks and financial markets.

Jan. 30:

- Greta Thunberg and global protest group “Fridays for Future” are nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize by two leftist Swedish politicians Jens Holm and Hakan Svenneling.

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