Latest environment news

Australia's winter likely to be drier and milder than usual as El Nino kicks in

Peter Hannam 12:43 PM   Most of Australia can expect a drier and warmer than usual winter as the influence of an El Nino takes hold – although the first few days of the season won't feel very balmy.

Norway's $1.15 trillion wealth fund curbs coal investments

Coal on the nose of the Norwegians.

Saleha Mohsin and Mikael Holter 9:59 AM   Norway's parliament reached an agreement to ban the country's $US890 billion ($1.15 trillion) sovereign wealth from investing in companies that base at least 30 per cent of their business on coal or revenue from the fuel.

Indians urged to stay indoors as death toll from 'unbearable' heat tops 1300

An Indian woman and child sleep under an umbrella at the roadside in Kolkata.

NIDA NAJAR 7:59 AM   Large swaths of India were baking again Wednesday under intense heat that has killed more than 1,300 people and left the government scrambling to warn an often unheeding population about the dangers of stepping outside in the blazing midday sun.

Scientists warn Everest glaciers at risk from climate change

Spot the disappearing glaciers near Mt Everest.

9:53 AM   Glaciers in the Everest region could shrink at least 70 per cent or even disappear entirely by the end of the century as a result of climate change.

The world we're lucky not to live in

Ozone hole over Antarctica in 2006.

Nicky Phillips 5:15 PM   An ozone hole larger than Australia would have opened up over the Arctic if we had continued to use CFCs for the past three decades.

Australia's outlook turns drier as Indian Ocean set to reinforce El Nino

Dry times loom for southern Australia if the weather models prove correct.

Peter Hannam   Prospects are firming that the El Nino event taking hold will mean a drier Australia, with conditions in the Indian Ocean likely to reinforce those in the Pacific, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Religious leaders call for deep post-2020 carbon cuts

Archbishop Philip Freier at St James Church in West Melbourne. He and other religious leaders are lobbying the Federal Government on Climate Change issues. Photo by Penny Stephens. The Age. 26TH MAY 2015

Peter Hannam   Leading religious figures have called on the Abbott government and Labor to commit to deep cuts in greenhouse gases after the current goal expires in 2020.

France's Laurent Fabius hopes Paris climate talks can reverse Copenhagen failure

French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius.

A breakthrough international accord to curb global warming is within reach but major hurdles still loom including resistance to a legally binding accord, France's foreign minister said in an interview with Reuters.

Here are six of the coolest new species science has only just discovered

Thai "Princess" Moths

Inga Ting 10:02 AM   Before eating its prey alive, the ampulex dementor wasp paralyses its prey not by locking up its muscles but by stealing its free will.

Animal rights group asks New York judge to free research chimps

Judge Barbara Jaffe presides in New York State Supreme Court.in a case in which lawyers for two chimpanzees are arguing that the animals have "personhood" rights and should be freed from the university where they are kept.

9:31 AM   US animal-rights advocates on Wednesday called on a New York court to order a state university to release two adult chimpanzee research subjects, contending that their captivity amounts to unlawful imprisonment.

Minerals Council misses deadline to make submission to inquiry it called for

The mining industry believes green groups are using public donations to advance political agendas.

Heath Aston 4:41 PM   One of the key players behind a push to strip green groups of their charitable status, the Minerals Council of Australia, has missed the deadline to make a submission to the parliamentary inquiry that could deliver that result.

Trawler loses support, fishes on


Super trawler Geelong Star.

Andrew Darby 3:48 PM   The troubled freezer trawler Geelong Star has lost all support from recreational fishers, as the ship begins its third attempt to fish without killing dolphins.

India heatwave kills 1000 as roads melt

An Indian man covers his face as drives on a scooter under the hot sun in Hyderabad.

2:47 PM   More than 1000 people have died in a major heatwave across India, that has seen roads melt in New Delhi and temperatures near 50 degrees.

Farmer finds fur seal in paddock, 40km from sea

It's a mystery as to how this fur seal pup wound up 40km from the South Australian coast.

Peri Strathearn   It's not every day a farmer finds a fur seal in his paddock.

Carbon market value expands to $44 Billion as Korea signs up

Carbon markets continue to grow.

Mathew Carr   ​The value of global carbon permits expanded to $34 billion ($44 billion) in the past year, with gains led by South Korea, California and Quebec, the World Bank said.

US coal shares tumble to record lows after job cuts, restructuring speculation

Coal's investment appeal is on the wane.

Tim Loh   ​US coal stocks were among the biggest losers in New York after the protracted slump in demand for the fossil fuel led to a rash of layoffs last week.

Biodiversity under threat as Melbourne's grasslands become suburbs

Ecologist Mark McDonnell has warned that Melbourne is at risk of losing more than half its native plants species in the next century.

Bridie Smith   Ecologists have warned that Melbourne is at risk of losing more than half its native plant species over the next century, with grasslands in Melbourne's west the most vulnerable to the city's urban sprawl.

Science

The best way to kill a cane toad

It was once thought the brain of a cane toad remained warm enough to feel pain while the rest of their body froze.

Nicky Phillips   A team of Sydney researchers has discovered a two-step process that is the most humane way to kill cane toads. And it was a practice banned 20 years ago by animal ethics committees.

Ideal conditions forecast for Origin opener

Hands up who wants perfect weather for Wednesday's game.

Peter Hannam   Wednesday night may be on the cool side for Queensland visitors to the opening State of Origin match at Homebush but the overall conditions could hardly be better for football.

Tornado, floods wreak havoc from Mexico to the US Great Lakes

People salvage belongings at a house near Wimberley, Texas.

Aamer Madhani   A tornado ripped through a city on the Mexico-US border on Monday, killing at least 10 people as first responders in Central Texas searched for a dozen people believed to be missing after the vacation home they were staying in was swept away in torrential flooding.

Fears for rare pink iguanas after Galapagos eruption

The Galapagos rosy iguana is unique to the archipelago.

A volcano in the Galapagos Islands has erupted for the first time in more than 30 years, sending streams of lava flowing down its slopes and potentially threatening the world's only colony of pink iguanas.

Mining industry told foreign journalists ports not a reef risk

Fish and Coral,  Great Barrier Reef

Heath Aston   Foreign journalists who attended an Australian government-sponsored fact-finding tour on the health of the Great Barrier Reef were briefed by the mining industry that shipping and ports posed no danger to coral.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon seeks 'global action' on climate

Earth as seen from the International Space Station.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is calling for renewed "global action" to limit climate change ahead of a quadrennial congress in Geneva.

Bureau of Meteorology rejects Maurice Newman's climate claims

Maurice Newman has come under fire after he wrote in <i>The Australian</i> that scientific modelling showing the link between humans and climate change was wrong.

Lisa Cox   Claims by the Prime Minister's chief business adviser about climate change have been rejected by the head of the Bureau of Meteorology as "incorrect", irrelevant and "old red herrings".

Big green donors warn funds could dry up if tax rules change

Rob Pallin, Chairman of Paddy Pallin group of companies and Pallin foundation.

Tom Arup   Leading environmental donors are alarmed at the possibility of tax concessions being tightened, with concerned that the move is an attack on political advocacy.

Taronga Zoo baby gorilla revealed as a boy almost two weeks after its birth

After days of waiting and watching, Keepers are able to confirm Taronga Zoo'€™s new gorilla baby is a male.

Lucy Cormack   Taronga Zoo keepers were thrilled at the arrival of their newest baby gorilla almost two weeks ago. The question on everyone's lips? Girl or boy?

Antarctic pilot disoriented before crash

The Squirrel helicopter crash in the Antarctic in December 2013 has been attributed to the pilot becoming disoriented.

Andrew Darby   The Australian Transport Safety Bureau report says the pilot of the Squirrel helicopter became disoriented in conditions in which the clouded sky and white Antarctic ice surface can appear to blend.

Anything but coal: the most popular energy sources in Australia

Site manager Nick Wain at the Royalla Solar Farm, near Canberra.

Peter Hannam   Solar energy is the most popular source of electricity in Australia with more than three times the backing of coal-fired or nuclear power, a survey by Ipsos has found.

Baby gorilla keeps zoo staff guessing

A baby western lowland gorilla clings to his mother, Frala, at Taronga Zoo.

Rachel Browne   Taronga Zoo staff are still in the dark about the gender of a western lowland gorilla born in captivity last week.

France's biggest insurer Axa axes coal investments

Axa loses its appetite for coal.

Tara Patel and Fabio Benedetti-Valentini   ​France's largest insurer will scrap holdings in coal companies because of concerns about climate change, broadening support for the fossil-fuel divestment movement to a major mainstream investor.