After promising that the decision made by the outgoing fisheries minister on commercial whaling would be reversed, the fisheries minister of Iceland's caretaker government, Steingrimur J. Sigfusson, discovered that the law would not allow him to revoke the decision, and so whaling of up to 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales can continue, at least for 2009.
Iceland’s new Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir is determined to reverse the country’s disastrous economic slide and bring its banks on track after they crashed last year. She has appointed a woman, Anne Sibert, to the Central Bank of Iceland’s Monetary Policy Committee.
Two weeks ago, a day after the government of Iceland fell, outgoing fisheries and agriculture minister Einar K. Gudfinnsson announced a quota for commercial whaling for up to 150 fin whales and 100 minke whales for the next five years.
The government has fallen in Iceland in the wake of an unprecedented season of protests.
"Start whaling" proclaimed the full-page advertisement that appeared in Icelandic newspapers early January.
The disastrous state of the Icelandic banking system means that Icelandic energy and aluminium companies can no longer find willing overseas lenders as before.
At the Hellisheidi geothermal power station, located about 30 km east of Reykjavik, Icelanders are developing novel ways of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) that are emitted from the plant.
Earlier this year, the Icelandic whale-watching boat Elding was fitted with a hydrogen-powered generator that fuels its lighting system, electric equipment and navigation machinery. It is the first of its kind in the world.
Emission of greenhouse gases increased from 3.7 million tonnes in 2005 to 4.2 million tonnes in 2006, representing an increase of 14.2 percent, according to Iceland's Environment Agency.
"I was so shocked when I went there just now," said Arndis Lilja Nielsdottir, referring to the situation in a new ward at Landakot geriatric hospital. The ward is now being run by Grund, a company providing residential and nursing home care for the elderly.
Environmentalists are concerned that a proposed new road will threaten the ecology of Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland's second largest lake.
Controversy has arisen yet again over the construction of an aluminium plant in Iceland. In this case the proposed plant will be located at Helguvik in the southwest, and will be powered by geothermal energy rather than hydroelectric power.
Iceland must review its fishing management system within six months and pay compensation to two fishermen who were unfairly discriminated against, the European Committee of Human Rights has said.
Icelanders are beginning to protest more forcefully against import of genetically modified food, leading the government to tighten regulations.
"I am of the opinion that Iceland should not ask for a repeat of the Iceland Provision in the upcoming climate change negotiations," says Iceland's environment minister Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir.
Icelandic farmers have found a successful way of repairing erosion escarpments: they blow cut-up hay at them.
Controversy is building up over a proposal to erect a set of three hydroelectric power plants and their associated dams in the lower Thjorsa river in South Iceland.
A crisis is looming in Iceland as, once again, cod populations have crashed.
Icelanders more than anyone else find most of the energy they need beneath their feet.
No whales have been caught under Iceland's commercial whaling programme since October last year, when whaling stopped for the year. Over a two-week period beginning in late September, seven fin whales and two minke whales were hunted, out of a quota of nine fin whales and 30 minke whales for the period up to Sept. 1.
There has been a change in the make-up of Iceland's ruling coalition after the recent parliamentary elections, which bodes for a new approach to health, education and farm policy. But how much change is in store regarding the environment, energy production and the Iraq war remains unclear.