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UNEP Year Book 2012 Highlights Soil Carbon Loss, Nuclear Power Plants Decommissioning

UNEP9 February 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the UNEP Year Book 2012, which presents important events and developments from 2011 on key environmental indicators. The Year Book details two emerging issues, the benefits of soil carbon, and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.  

The 2012 Year Book features chapters on: the year in review, which highlights environmental extremes, including record extreme weather and climate events and increasing degradation of marine ecosystems, but notes progress towards new investments in renewable energy and towards a green economy; the benefits of soil carbon; the closing and decommissioning of nuclear power reactors; and on key environmental indicators, which underscores the need to address mounting challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and land and soil degradation.

The Year Book highlights the loss of carbon from soils, and the related implications for food security, energy use, climate change and ecosystems health. It notes that soil erosion due to traditional agriculture is occurring 100 times faster than soil's natural formation process. UNEP recommends a new focus at all levels of governance on effectively managing soil carbon for multiple benefits to meet the need for ecosystem services to support the world population beyond 2030.

The Year Book also addresses the challenge of dealing with aging nuclear power stations through decommissioning. It provides recommendations on ways to decommission a proportion of the 140 nuclear power stations that have been closed over recent years. According to UNEP, the Year Book is intended to strengthen the science-policy interface through informing interested parties about relevant environmental issues. [UNEP Press Release] [UNEP Year Book 2012]