This report presents important environmental events and developments of 2012, and provides an overview of the status of key environmental indicators. It highlights the benefits of carbon storage in soil and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants as issues of emerging significance, and aims to strengthen science policy in these areas.

According to UNEP's executive director, although these may seem like separate issues, they go to the heart of questions about ensuring enough food and fuel while combating climate change and handling hazardous waste.

The report points out that the draining of peatlands is producing carbon dioxide emissions that amount to around six per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions; and their degradation is occurring 20 times faster than peat is accumulated. It also suggests that the nuclear industry needs to develop safer, faster and cheaper decommissioning of nuclear power plants.