Latest environment news

El Nino becoming super-charged as atmosphere builds on ocean heat

Peter Hannam 12:15 PM   The powerful El Nino continues to intensify in the Pacific and is now the strongest since the record-breaking 1997-98 event, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Typhane or hurricoon? The storm that changed its title

Kilo on the date line

Peter Hannam 1:49 PM   One of four huge tropical storms spinning in the north Pacific has caused a stir among meteorologists by crossing the International Date Line near Hawaii and requiring a title change.

Obama using Alaska to add urgency to his climate change warnings

President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable with Alaska natives in Anchorage.

Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin 3:12 AM   Anchorage: As stage sets go, Alaska is a spectacular one: craggy mountain ranges, picturesque coastlines and iconic glaciers. President Obama arrived here Monday to use that backdrop for his message that climate change is not just a thing of the future but something well underway in the nation's largest state.

Mongolia in for double whammy: drought now, "dzud" next

Hard times on the steppe: drought and prospects of a tough winter ahead.

7:44 AM   The drought has wiped out up to 80 per cent of its wheat crop and up next could be the worst winter in six years.

Thor arrives to tackle busy fire season

Thor unleashes at Richmond.

Peter Hannam   Another year of above-average fire risk is on the way as the long-term decline in cool season rainfall combines with a strengthening El Nino.

Flurry of tropical cyclones give super El Nino another boost

Hurricane Jimena is moving over warm waters in the eastern Pacific and gathering strength.

Peter Hannam   The hyperactive hurricane season in the Pacific has jumped up another gear, spawning a record trio of category 4 strength tropical storms that will give the powerful El Nino event yet another boost.

Metgasco set to sue state over Bentley licence cancellation

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson:  expects police protection for the Northern Rivers project.

Sean Nicholls   Energy company Metgasco is preparing to sue the NSW government for millions amid claims negotiations broke down over the cancellation of a north coast gas licence.

Very woolly sheep seeking shearer

The RSPCA says the sheep desperately needs a shear.

Alexandra Back 7:06 PM   The RSPCA desperately sought a shearer after a sheep with a mammoth coat appeared near Canberra.

Big business wins ways to increase emissions under Abbott government climate plan

Emission limits for large industrial plants will be set at their highest emissions levels within the five year stretch of 2009-10 to 2013-14.

Tom Arup 3:39 PM   Big business will be afforded several ways to increase their greenhouse gas emissions without penalty under the second plank of the Abbott government's Direct Action climate change plan.

AGL in dam row as anti-CSG protests hit 100 weeks

Anti-CSG protesters mark 100 weeks of opposition to AGL's gas drilling.

Peter Hannam 3:33 PM   AGL is storing water produced from its coal seam gas wells without proper permits, anti-CSG activists claim, as protests at the energy giant's headquarters marked 100 consecutive weeks.

Chimps aren't people, New York's top court rules

Fighting on: Steven Wise.

Yancey Roy 3:20 PM   ​New York's top court has declined to hear the appeal of the case of Tommy and Kiko, frustrating the chimpanzee advocates' bid to gain "legal personhood" status.

Cobras bond in bizarre mating ritual

Raja at the Australian Reptile Park.

Matthew Kelly 9:01 AM   As spring arrives, the Australian Reptile Park's deadliest housemates are getting frisky.

Scientists find Earth's first big predator: a terrifying giant sea scorpion

An artist's rendering of the Pentecopterus decorahensis.

Sarah Kaplan   The monstrous creature had a dozen clawed arms sprouting from its head and a giant, spiked tail. Half a billion years ago, it owned the seas.

Magpies target their unwitting human prey, research suggests

Feel like magpies are picking on you?

Kate Aubusson and Leonie Thorne   Have you ever felt like magpies were out to get you? You might be onto something, according to a new Australian study.

Feral deer taken out in Parks Victoria cull

Feral deer cause substantial environmental damage.

Darren Gray   As deer numbers rise, organised culls are essential to protect our national parks.

Heat is in the air: spring to burst onto the scene

If it doesn't feel like spring yet - it should do soon.

Peter Hannam   After the coolest winter in years, the mercury is ready to rise, forecasters say.

Snapper catch rates tipped to drop this summer


Darren Gray   Fishing enthusiasts chasing snapper in Port Phillip Bay in the coming season could end up with a smaller haul than recent years, according to a leading fisheries scientist.

Miners lose economic edge in NSW project approvals

The NSW government has put mining back to a level planning field.

Peter Hannam   The Baird government has amended its mining policy process to give equal billing to a project's economic, environmental and social impacts when determining approval in a move likely to anger the mining industry.

Great photos come to those who wait

Arthur Roy's photo "Chasing Fish" is the overall winner of The Nature Conservancy photo competition.

Lucy Cormack   Even the most amateur photographer knows that it takes a whole lot of patience to get the perfect shot - even more so when you're waiting on creatures in the wild.

Canberrans encouraged to clean up their act in wake of Keep Australia Beautiful report

Nearly half of the litter items you'll see tossed around the Australian Capital Territory are cigarette butts.

Katie Burgess   Canberrans are a bunch of tossers – at least, according to the National Litter Index.

Nora the Explorer helps save endangered turtles

X-Ray of a Green turtle that swallowed a fishing hook.

Nicky Phillips   As the manager of Taronga Zoo's wildlife hospital, Libby Hall sees the devastating impact plastic can have on endangered sea turtles.

Kangaroo car collisions spike on roads to snowfields

One of many dead kangaroos on the road from Canberra to the snowfields..

John Thistleton   Car repairers are struggling to keep up with cars damaged in collisions with kangaroos.

Former EU climate action commissioner: ‘The future belongs to renewables’

Katie Burgess   Praise for the ACT Government's 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2025 has come from the highest authority - the European Union's first commissioner for climate action.

Sun-drenched miners look to the skies


David Stringer and Paul Allen   Miners including Rio Tinto and Newmont are installing solar plants, betting they'll deliver long-term savings.

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Australia lags behind in plans to meet 2030 climate goal

Report says the government's moves to axe the carbon price and scale-back the renewable energy target had made the 2030 goal significantly harder to achieve.

Tom Arup   Australia is behind other industrialised countries in having policies that can meet its promised target to cut greenhouse gases for 2030, a new assessment has found.

Sea levels will rise, NASA experts warn, and 'it's not going to stop'

Icebergs float in the Jacobshavn Bay on August 24, 2007 near the town of Ilulissat, Greenland.  Recent scientific reports have documented apparently accelerating ice loss from Greenland.

Chris Mooney   NASA is undertaking an "intensive research effort" into the problem of rising seas brought on by global warming, the agency announced Wednesday. And it will include satellite mounted tools so accurate that "if they were mounted on a commercial jetliner, flying at 12,192 metres, they could detect the bump caused by a dime lying flat on the ground," as agency earth science director Mike Freilich put it Wednesday.

Warragamba Dam spilling as flood threat downgraded

Water flows over the Warragamba Dam spillway on Thursday morning.

Megan Levy   Water has started spilling over the Warragamba Dam wall for the first time since 2013, but the flood threat for low-lying areas along the Nepean River has been revised downwards.

The 'sinkholes' in our waterside suburbs

100-year-old seawalls along the Parramatta River are struggling to cope with wash from RiverCat ferries.

Lucy Cormack   RiverCat ferries are being blamed for causing 'sinkholes' from Gladesville to Drummoyne, leading to repair bills of up to $300,000 each time.

Warragamba to spill, trigger Nepean Hawkesbury flooding: BoM

Warragamba Dam during an earlier spill.

Peter Hannam   Sydney's main reservoir will begin spilling on Thursday, leading to minor flooding downstream, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Cute and cuddly meerkat pups get ready to explore at Hunter Valley Zoo

They're cute, but these three week old meerkat pups are quite a handful.

Belinda Jane-Davis   These five baby meerkats are cute, cuddly and almost ready to get out and about exploring.

Fined after flying with a croc in his boot

The crocodile found in the boot of a Hervey Bay man at Brisbane Airport.

Cameron Atfield   A Queensland man has copped a fine for taking a crocodile with him on a flight from Darwin to Brisbane.