Latest environment news

El Niño's perverse effect on sea levels

Peter Hannam   El Niños are well known for unleashing droughts, hotter-than-usual weather and paradoxically worse frosts but they also drive remarkable changes to global sea levels.

Electricity from renewable energy fell in 2014

Hydro Tasmania's Gordon Dam on Lake Gordon, Tasmania.

Lisa Cox 6:30 PM   Renewable energy's share of how much electricity is produced in Australia fell in 2014, but the number of businesses connecting to solar power is booming, according to the peak body for the clean energy industry.

Victorian climate change laws to go under the spotlight

Victoria's law to tackle climate change will be reviewed, including consideration of a new state target to cut emissions.

Tom Arup 4:39 PM   Victoria will get its own target to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but it may not be enshrined in law.

Methane emissions raise doubts about gas industry's climate advantage

A gas flare burns near a crude oil site in North Dakota, US.

Tara Patel 6:22 AM   Understanding of methane leaks resulting from the gas industry is 'still patchy', undermining claims that the fossil fuel is less damaging for the climate than the coal industry.

What's the link between global warming and extreme weather?

An Indian drinks water from a bottle in Allahabad, India.

Chris Mooney   There is still a lot of pushback whenever anyone dares to link climate change to extreme weather events, but we don't have to be afraid to talk about this relationship.

Disease hits last wild orange-bellied parrots

Threat: Evidence of beak and feather disease has been found in the breeding colony of orange-bellied parrots in South West Tasmania.

Andrew Darby   An attempt is being made by the Federal Government to speed action over a fatal disease in Australia's most critically endangered wild bird, the orange-bellied parrot.

Timing gives Abbott no excuse to avoid Paris climate talks

Tony Abbott at the last CHOGM meeting in November 2013 in Sri Lanka.

Peter Hannam   Pressure on the Prime Minister to attend the crucial Paris Climate Summit is likely to rise if he opts to attend the CHOGM gathering that will be held just prior to the French event.

Chimpanzees have mental skills to cook, study finds

Fish and chimps: a chimpanzee eats its lunch at a sanctuary in Colombia.

Sharon Begley 9:53 AM   Chimpanzees can understand the concept of cooking and are willing to postpone eating raw food, even carrying food some distance to cook it rather than eat immediately, scientists say.

'Blackfish for elephants': Tyke Elephant Outlaw premieres in Sydney

Tyke running through the streets of downtown Honolulu on August 20, 1994.

Brittany Ruppert 9:39 AM   When Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore first premiered their documentary Tyke Elephant Outlaw in Sarasota, Florida - the heart of US circus country - rival protest groups clashed, police were called in and bodyguards had to escort the filmmakers from the building.

Could El Nino derail monetary policy?

Severe impacts could come from disruptions of the oceanic atmosphere system.

Julie Verhage 9:37 AM   Countries in and around Asia could see severe impacts from disruptions of the oceanic atmosphere system.

Melbourne weather: City set to shiver through coldest day in a year

For Age News
Christine Auriant  from Thomas town wondering if the weather will ever improve, as she window shops at Nicola, on Greville Street, Prahran.
Pic:Alan Betson

Marissa Calligeros 8:32 AM   The temperature in Melbourne will struggle to reach double figures on Thursday, possibly making it the coldest day in nearly two years.

Australian seriously injured by bison in Yellowstone National Park

Bison graze near a stream in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in this file picture.

1:39 PM   An Australian tourist is in hospital in a serious condition after being attacked by a bison in Yellowstone National Park.

Cold, frosty mornings to continue before a warm long weekend

Frosty foliage.

Emma Kelly 12:14 PM   Canberrans have spent more time shivering through sub-zero temperatures than enjoying the sunshine recently but the capital is set for a mild reprieve over the long weekend.

US bans Miami trainer-killer whale shows

Killer whale Lolita and a trainer perform during a show at the Miami Seaquarium in January.

US officials have ordered a Florida aquatic park to stop performances in which trainers swim with a killer whale, out of concern for their safety.

Aggressive walking fish hitching to Australia

 The climbing perch can live out of water for up to six days.

Bridie Smith   A freshwater fish capable of surviving out of water for up to six days may also be able to survive in salty water, prompting scientists to warn that the aggressive climbing perch could make its way to mainland Australia from Papua New Guinea.

Seven endangered sawfish conceived by having a 'virgin birth'

Immaculate conception: A smalltooth sawfish.

Jenny Staletovich   Scientists never knew whether this kind of immaculate conception happened in the wild - until now.

Feeling the cold? You're not wrong

Falls Creek

Robyn Grace & Aisha Dow   Winter got off to a freezing start on Monday, equalling Tullamarine's coldest morning since 1971 and almost beating the city's coldest start since 1977.

Sydney weather: city shivers through coldest June morning in five years

Thredbo revels in the cold conditions which brought snow on Monday.

Megan Levy   Winter is just two days young, but it's already making its mark on a shivering Sydney.

Australia defends Direct Action to UN

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop

Tom Arup   Australia has pegged its international climate change credibility on the Abbott government's direct action scheme in its response to a series of tough questions from world super powers.

American killed by lion in South Africa game park

A lioness approached the passenger side of the vehicle as the woman took photos and then lunged, said Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager at the Lion Park.

A lion has leapt through an open car window and mauled an American tourist to death at a privately-run game park just outside Johannesburg.

France suggests world leaders at start, not end, of climate summit

French President Francois Hollande and Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Segolene Royal.

​France suggests world leaders should attend only the start of a summit on climate change in Paris in six months, hoping to avoid a repeat of the last failed attempt in 2009 when they came at the end and left empty-handed.

Europe's oil giants jointly call for carbon pricing

Over a barrel: climate action needs a price on carbon, big oil firms say.

​Europe's top oil and gas companies urged governments around the world to introduce a pricing system for carbon emissions, as governments meet in Bonn, Germany, on Monday to work on a UN deal to fight climate change.

The world's biodiversity is not as diverse as first thought

Melbourne University's Andrew Hamilton is co-author of a paper which has published findings on the number of species on the planet, particularly beetles.

Bridie Smith   Our planet may be home to millions fewer species than previously thought, according to the results of a new study led by Australian researchers.

Sydney water supply at risk if miners pay to harm swamps, critics say


Nicole Hasham   Coal companies could pay "a few lousy dollars" to damage sensitive swamps that provide pure drinking water to millions of Sydneysiders if mining changes proposed by the Baird government proceed, environment groups say.

Australia given $4b in foreign subsidies for coal projects: report

Coal projects.

Lisa Cox   Australia has received more than $4 billion in money from foreign governments to fund coal projects since 2007, according to a new report highlighting the extent to which wealthy countries are still financing fossil fuels.

Green group suggests conflict of interest in coal assessments

The NSW Environmental Defenders Office says some members of the Planning Assessment Commission are too closely involved in mining to make decisions about planning applications from the industry.

Anne Davies   The NSW Ombudsman has been asked to examine the issue of conflicts of interest among members of the Planning Assessment Commission who are involved in assessing and approving coal projects in NSW.

Sydney weather: Winter arrives with icy blast, snow at alpine resorts

Perisher's Olympic Run just before 8am on Monday.

Megan Levy   It"s the first day of winter, and it's freezing, the themometer says.

Drought spreads as El Nino takes hold

Another season of below-average rainfall for most of eastern Australia.

Peter Hannam   May capped off another relatively dry month for Australia, extending drought conditions across eastern regions of the country just as the influence of an El Nino begins to take hold.

Taronga greets baby gorilla as courts decide if apes should be free

Born into controversy: Taronga's new gorilla baby.

Steve Jacobs   As Taronga Zoo celebrates another gorilla birth, animal rights groups in the Americas are trying to persuade courts to free great apes from captivity.

How to save on your winter energy bills

Falls Creek

Robyn Grace   Winter isn't all about snow and slow cooking. For some, the energy bills make this season the stuff of nightmares.

Time to move? A new plan for Cape Otways' koalas

Researcher Desley Whisson with three Otway koalas that were culled due to starvation.

Tom Arup   It's hard to think of anything much more emotive than the killing of koalas. But in some cases on Victoria's Cape Otway, that's what it has come to.