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Environment

Latest green news

Big business calls for changes to Renewable Energy Target

HEATH ASTON 1:48pm Australia's 20 per cent renewable energy target should be abolished - or at very least wound back - according to big business which has unveiled research showing the target will cost the economy $29 billion and 5000 jobs by 2020.

Worst of winter likely over as warming trend begins

Winter looks likely to be a short one for much of the country.

PETER HANNAM 5:07pm The worst of the winter is likely to be over with the outlook pointing to warmer and drier than normal weather over coming months, conditions that may set up another early fire season.

Dogs feel jealous of rival pets, study finds

Pick me! The study suggested a basic instinct in dogs to express displeasure when a rival is seen receiving attention.

Rachel Feltman 12:19pm Your dog wants all of your attention (and it's never enough!) but can your pooch feel jealousy?

Bill Shorten makes case for ETS to tackle climate change in US speech

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

10:22am Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has warned that Australia's decision to abandon carbon pricing puts it at risk of being isolated on the world stage in a speech in the US.

Wind farm operator expels Maurice Newman from committee

Maurice Newman

PETER HANNAM 8:07am Prominent businessman Maurice Newman said he had been “disinvited” from a community consultative committee for a proposed wind farm in the state’s southern highlands because of his objections to government support for the project.

Tread with care: networks face a solar dilemma

solar panels

PETER HANNAM 6:34pm The rapid spread of solar panels and the prospect of plunging costs of batteries pose unprecedented challenges for utilities, according to a report by Tim Nelson, AGL's head of economics, policy and sustainability.

Coal dust 'spread across Barrier Reef'

5:49pm A Senate inquiry's heard coal dust has spread throughout the Great Barrier Reef and exceeds toxic levels near the shore.

US poll finds 60% back carbon tax - if used for renewables

US President Barack Obama has made climate change a priority in his second term.

Wendy Koch Most Americans oppose a carbon tax, considered by many economists a cost-effective way to fight climate change, but they are willing to support it if the money is returned to them or used to fund renewable energy, a poll has found.

UK sticks with target to halve carbon emissions by 2025

Deep carbon cuts planned for Britain.

Alex Morales The UK will keep a target to cut greenhouse gases by half through 2025, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said, foiling the Treasury's effort to weaken the target.

Climate scientists have a real beef with beef

Cattle and climate change under scrutiny.

Geoffrey Mohan If you want to slow climate change, white meat may be the right meat, according to two studies that tally the environmental effect of the beef industry.

Possum a 'polar bear' of climate change

White lemuroid ringtail possum.

A rare Australian possum is being dubbed the new polar bear of climate change.

Sydney weather just the tip of a warm world

PETER HANNAM Last month was a scorcher for global temperatures, with warmth over land and sea breaking records for June while sea-surface temperatures posted their largest departure from long-term averages for any month.

Perth rainfall still well short of average

The wild weather sets in overnight as seen from Hillarys.

CHENEE MARRAPODI If Perth is getting sick of the rain, we shouldn't be complaining - we are well below our annual averages, according to the bureau.

Renewable energy: NSW to be 'Australia's answer to California'

Time to get cracking on renewables and energy efficiency, the NSW government says.

PETER HANNAM Baird government plans to adorn its buildings with solar panels and ease the way for more wind farms.

June a global scorcher as records melt

April, May, June - matching or breaking records for warmest temperatures worldwide.

PETER HANNAM Last month was a scorcher for global temperatures with warmth over land and sea breaking records for June while sea-surface temperatures posted their largest departure from long-term averages for any month.

Sun goes spotless, baffling scientists

Almost spotless: the sun on July 18.

PETER HANNAM Some astronomers call it the Big Quiet – the absence of sunspots during what is supposed to be a period of heightened magnetic activity on our sun.

Melbourne wakes to second-coldest morning of year

cold weather

Robyn Grace If you felt the need to crank the heating this morning, you probably weren’t alone - Melburnians woke to their second-coldest morning of the year.

Climate models on the mark, Australian-led research finds

A relatively cool period in the El Nino cycles is masking a global heat build-up.

PETER HANNAM A common refrain by climate sceptics that surface temperatures have not warmed over the past 17 years, implying climate models predicting otherwise are unreliable, has been refuted by new research led by James Risbey, a senior CSIRO researcher.

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Former solar giant Suntech rises from the ashes

Sunrise

PETER HANNAM Suntech - now rebadged as Wuxi Suntech Power - is rising from the ashes.

National Trust to highlight 25,000 trees of significance from all parts of Australia on a new website

Anna Foley is working on a national tree register.

Denise Gadd An email doing the rounds pleads for people to stop cutting down trees. Included is a photograph of a line of 15 dogs queuing to lift their legs on a solitary specimen in a field.

Al Gore, EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard regret carbon price repeal

Gore and Palmer in Canberra last month.

PETER HANNAM Al Gore says the Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon tax is “a disappointing step" that will leave Australia falling behind other rich nations in reducing emissions.

Blue Mountains traffic blocked by snow and ice

Calves sheep during very cold weather and snow in the Central Tablelands near Jenolan Caves.

PETER HANNAM Heavy snow and black ice have triggered accidents and caused the closure of major routes in the Blue Mountains.

Carbon emission challenge will not go away

PETER HANNAM The demise of the carbon price closes one chapter in the tortured tale of Australia’s climate change policy. But the story is far from over.

Northampton residents face lead contamination

An emergency worker's boot is fastened with duct tape to avoid contamination after the Washington state mudslide.

ALEISHA ORR An investigation has revealed 10 per cent of properties sampled in the Mid West town of Northampton are contaminated with lead.

In the world of carbon pricing, what a difference seven years makes

Then environment minister, Malcolm Turnbull with then prime minister, John Howard, in 2007.

MICHAEL KOZIOL What a difference seven years can make. On the very same date in 2014 that the carbon tax was abolished, in 2007 the Coalition government issued a press release announcing a "world-leading" emissions trading scheme.

Britons brace for a (sort of) heatwave

Britons enjoy the warm weather in St James's Park, London.

Sarah Knapton Keep out of the sun, eat salad, turn your printers off and stay calm Britons. It's about to get "hot".

Mount Fuji 'at risk of eruption' from pressure build-up after 2011 earthquake

In bloom: Historic gardens in Nagasaki, Japan.

BELLINDA KONTOMINAS The 2011 earthquake that sparked a devastating tsunami that killed thousands in Japan has caused pressure to build under active volcano, Mount Fuji.

Ocean Power Technologies scrap wave-power project near Portland

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham.

NICK TOSCANO A multimillion-dollar renewable energy project expected to generate hundreds of jobs in Victoria's south-west has been dumped after the company declared it was no longer viable.

Who wins, who loses when the carbon tax goes?

Carbon crunch time for some industries.

PETER HANNAM Assuming the government can get the key parts of its changes through, who stands to win and who stands to lose?

Back to 'ground zero' with carbon tax repeal

Climate goals will remain a challenge, post-carbon tax.

PETER HANNAM The demise of the carbon price closes one chapter in the tortured tale of Australia’s climate change policy but the story is far from over.

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First tweets on repeal of the carbon tax

Twitter

Initial Twitter reaction to carbon tax repeal.

Tony Abbott battles the future by axing carbon tax

Tom Arup dinkus

TOM ARUP Opinion Australia is in a climate coma. The bitter five-year political tussle over carbon pricing has left us numb and weary of the debate.

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Carbon price helped curb emissions, ANU study finds

All hot air? Carbon pricing was starting to work.

PETER HANNAM Australia cut carbon dioxide emissions from its electricity sector by as much as 17 million tonnes because of the carbon price and would have curbed more had industry expected the price to be permanent, according to an Australian National University study.

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EU considers energy savings goal of less 30%, setting up clash

Power trip: how ambitious should the goal be?

The European Commission is considering an energy saving goal for 2030 of less than 30 per cent, according to a document seen by Reuters, setting it at odds with designated Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Corals near dredge sites have twice as much disease, study

NICKY PHILLIPS An independent study has revealed the significant impact dredging has on coral reefs, contradicting claims made by the federal government and port developers that dredging at Abbot Point would have ''minimal impact'' on the Great Barrier Reef.

Warmth across the Pacific stalls brewing El Nino

Stirred up: Satellite image of Typhoon Rammasun approaches the Philippines.

PETER HANNAM Expectations of a strong El Nino weather event in the Pacific are being pared back but warmer-than-usual conditions are likely to persist, meteorologists say.

Deadly typhoon hits Philippines

A fisherman tries to secure his boat at Imus.

LINDSAY MURDOCH The first typhoon of the year smashed into the Philippines with winds gusts up to 185 kilometres per hour, killing at least five people.

Annual investments in large-scale renewable energy in Australia

How the numbers stack up.

Tally of Australia's investment in large-scale renewable energy projects.

Australia's renewable energy industry grinds to a halt

Shadow looms over large-scale renewables in Australia.

PETER HANNAM Australia's investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government's latest review of the mandatory target.

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Offshore wind deal boosts clean energy investment to $A68 billion

Wind, solar investments surge

Louise Downing Global investment in clean energy increased to $US63.6 billion ($A68 billion) in the second quarter, boosted by the biggest deal in the industry's history, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Strong El Nino seen unlikely by Australia as Pacific cools

The most recent El Nino (2009-10).

Phoebe Sedgman The odds of a strong El Nino, which brings drought to the Asia-Pacific region and heavy rains to South America, are increasingly unlikely after the tropical Pacific Ocean cooled, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Rain and a mid-week cold front hits Canberra

Wet and windy weather awaits.

HENRY BELOT A bright start to the week in Canberra has been replaced with wet, windy and gloomy conditions with a series of cold fronts expected to pass across the territory and bring further snowfall to the NSW alps.

Fight climate change by building away from sea: Rupert Murdoch

Climate change should be treated with ''much scepticism''

SARAH WHYTE News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has dubbed Prime Minister Tony Abbott an admirable, honest and principled man, and said Australians should not be building windmills and ''all that rubbish''.

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Australia's dry south to become even drier, scientists say

Central Victoria

INGA TING Southern Australia has been warned to brace for more dry winters as a new study links the drying trend of the past few decades to human-induced changes in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Victorian government accused of cooking books on energy use scheme

TOM ARUP The Victorian government has been accused of overestimating the costs and underestimating the benefits of a scheme to help Victorian households cut their power use to justify a decision to scrap it.

Bring out the champagne! Wait, not so fast: The Spectator Australia jumps the gun with cover

The Spectator Australia cover for July 12.

ROSE POWELL The Palmer United Party's last-minute manoeuvring to delay the passage of the carbon tax repeal bill through the senate this week didn't just take the Coalition by surprise.

BHP's Caroona coal mine fails Gateway tests

'Autobahn' not Gateway, says local farmer Tim Duddy.

PETER HANNAM A major coal mine planned by BHP Billiton for north-west NSW would have "direct and significant impacts" on the productivity of rich local farmland, an independent panel has found.

Clearing the way for conflict over farm land use

Koala

NICOLE HASHAM The irony might escape the uninitiated, but Bronwyn Petrie says thick clumps of eucalypts thriving on her Tenterfield farm do not mean the land is in rude health.

Pacific warming doesn't meet El Nino threshold yet, US says

The most recent El Nino (2009-10).

A weather-changing El Nino has yet to develop in the Pacific Ocean, according to government forecasters are who maintaining a "watch" initiated in March.

Coastal flooding has surged along US east coast: Reuters study

Extreme events such as superstorm Sandy mask background sea-levels rises in US.

Coastal flooding along the densely populated Eastern Seaboard of the United States has surged in recent years, a Reuters analysis finds.

Sheep 'abuse' prompts RSPCA inquiry

sheep

Wool producers are "shocked and appalled" by graphic footage allegedly showing Australian shearers beating, kicking and stomping on sheep.

Devil in the detail sees Palmer party rule the day

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer.

Lisa Cox and Tom Arup Protection for business and a last minute push to toughen penalties for companies who do not pass on savings from axing the carbon tax were central to an extraordinarily day in Canberra that saw the Abbott government’s repeal plans once again frustrated.

As climate changes, world weather agency calls for new baseline

Australia has set many records for unusual heat over the past 18 months.

PETER HANNAM The World Meteorological Organisation says it’s time to shift climate baselines because global warming is increasingly setting a new “normal” for weather conditions.

Sci-tech

Good vibrations: plants respond to sound of caterpillars chewing

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MICHAEL KOZIOL Plants are smarter than you think. Not only do they grow towards sunlight and respond to rock music, but they can also learn from sounds in their natural environment, new research reports.

Tour de France protest planned over Orica's export of toxic waste

SESTOLA, ITALY - MAY 18:  Pieter Weening of the Netherlands and Orica-GreenEDGE celebrates crossing the line to win the ninth stage of the 2014 Giro d'Italia, a 172km medium mountain stage between Lugo and Sestola on May 18, 2014 in Sestola, Italy.  (Photo by Harry Engels - Velo/Getty Images)

Natalie O'Brien Chemicals company Orica has applied to start shipping 15,000 tonnes of toxic waste from Sydney to France.

Wintry blast headed for Sydney

Blizzards on some peaks.

PETER HANNAM A vigorous cold front will bringing a wintry blast to Sydney this afternoon and extend snow showers further across the state.

Carbon debate won't die with Senate vote

Not going away - the climate challenge

PETER HANNAM Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be hoping Thursday’s expected repeal of the carbon tax will leave the issue “dead, buried and cremated” much like a previous contested policy, WorkChoices.

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Global warming requires more frequent rethink of 'normal' weather, WMO says

What's 'normal' weather is less so.

The baseline for "normal" weather used by everyone from farmers to governments to plan ahead needs to be updated more frequently to account for the big shifts caused by global warming, the UN's World Meteorological Organisation said on Wednesday.

Thredbo and Perisher planning for best weekend in years

A half-metre of snow on Wednesday night has set up a weekend labelled the best of the season at Thredbo and Perisher.

HENRY BELOT Fresh snowfall on the Snowy Mountains overnight has led meteorologists and excited resort managers at Thredbo and Perisher to declare this weekend for skiing in many years.

Australia can cut carbon emissions to zero and still grow, says report

World famous economist Jeffrey Sachs.  The Age. Photo: Angela Wylie. May 20 2014.

TOM ARUP The carbon tax may be all but dead, but a global plan for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change has found Australia could overhaul its fossil fuel dependent energy supply and cut emissions to zero by 2050 without trashing its economy.

cattle

Live cattle trade

Animals Australia has uncovered terrible cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs. Here is our record of events.

weather special index

Too hot? Or too cold?

And what lies ahead on the horizon? Visit our special index for the pick of the weather stories.

BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Gulf of Mexico oil spill

An oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico threatens an environmental disaster. See our special index.

puppy puff

Dogs too cute for their own good

What to do with unwanted pets is a major issue. See our special index.

weather archive

Saved from extinction

Dip into our archive of environment stories.