Latest environment news

'It's crazy': two degrees warming a 'prescription for disaster' says former NASA scientist

Peter Hannam 9:53 AM   The world faces a climate 'emergency' and aiming to limit global temperatures to two degrees won't stop massive sea-level rises within decades, the former NASA scientist says.

Pacific storms generate massive waves, flooding coastal areas in Mexico

Giant swell at Puerto Escondido on May 3.

Peter Hannam 5:16 PM   Giant waves, stirred by an intense low pressure system in the Pacific, have given surfers the ride of their lives and flooded coastal regions at a Mexican surf mecca.

Fracking chemicals found in Pennsylvania drinking water

The Fracking fluid found will be closely examined.

NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR 1:10 AM   ​An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published Monday.

Brown coal powers up to boost emissions

Ramping up: Coal's share of the market is increasing.

Peter Hannam and Tom Arup 12:38 PM   Australia's electricity demand is picking up and, in the absence of a carbon price, pushing up the sector's emissions.

Sun will make its long-awaited return to Sydney

A break in the rain will give Sydney a chance to dry out.

Peter Hannam   Here comes the sun, and it's back for a while - perhaps as long as two weeks - helping dry Sydney out after April's soaking.

Carbon pledges to fall short of warming goal, Stern warns

China's emissions may peak earlier than expected.

Peter Hannam   The Paris climate summit planned for the end of the year is unlikely to result in carbon emissions cuts deep enough to avoid dangerous warming, a study by Lord Nicholas Stern argues.

Solar-powered mission takes flight

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard takes a selfie in his solar-powered plane's cockpit.

Stuart Leavenworth   It takes a Boeing 747 about 10 hours and 136,000 litres of fuel to fly from eastern China to Hawaii. Andre Borschberg will attempt the same flight without a drop of fuel.

Grazing ban for national parks to take hold

Cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park.

Tom Arup 6:14 PM   A ban on cattle grazing in national parks will take effect after with the Andrews government secured enough numbers to pass the laws in the Victorian Parliament's upper house late on Tuesday.

Direct action's emissions safeguards 'designed to fail': Grattan Institute

The Grattan Institute has recommended the Abbott government set strong financial penalties to deter polluters from increasing their emissions.

Lisa Cox and Tom Arup 5:34 PM   Proposed safeguards to limit greenhouse gas emissions from big polluters have been designed by the Abbott government to fail, according to the Grattan Institute.

Sydney weather: fog shrouds city before the sun finally emerges

Sydney was covered by a blanket of fog on Tuesday morning.

Megan Levy 6:59 AM   Large parts of Sydney were shrouded in thick fog on Tuesday morning, reducing visibility to just 100 metres in some suburbs.

Puppy killer Nathan Thompson jailed for 12 months

Nathan Thompson outside court on Monday.

Dan Proudman   Kurri Kurri puppy killer Nathan Thompson has been banned from having anything to do with animals for at least 10 years.

Clear skies ahead as state recovers from wild weather

Flood waters rise at Macleay River at Kempsey during the floods.

Melanie Kembrey   As the mopping up begins after more wild weather over the weekend, New South Wales can breath a sigh of relief with a reprieve from rain expected.

The 30-year fight for chimps' rights

Lifelong campaign: Nonhuman Rights Project president Steven Wise talks during the 2015  Animal Law Lecture Series.

Steve Jacobs   Steven Wise has spent much of his life trying to convince a sceptical world that chimpanzees should have legal rights, such as the right to be free.

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Who dares to discount future lives?

Queensland has suffered through a hot, dry summer despite the deluge from Cyclone Marcia.

Markus Mannheim   We can't afford to miscalculate the costs of runaway climate change.

In defence of cost-benefit analysis and discount rates

Academics and students at the University of Western Australia don't want Bjorn Lomborg's new centre.

Andrew Podger   Policymakers need a measured response to claims of doom.

Trawler Geelong Star returns to port after again killing dolphins in net

Dolphins

Andrew Darby   The controversial freezer trawler Geelong Star has had to return to port after a second round of dolphin killings in its giant net.

Church of England dumps coal as fossil-fuel divestment campaign spreads

The Most Reverend Justin Welby being enthroned as Archbishop last year.

Thomas Biesheuvel   Coal mining might have dubbed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott as 'good for humanity' but apparently it isn't God's work.

Abbott's climate delays come full circle

Illustration by John Shakespeare

John Hewson   The Coalition once led the way but is now an international laggard.

A sea lion named 'Rubbish' found wandering the streets of San Francisco

The stranded sea lion pup, Rubbish, lying next to a car on a San Francisco street.

Elahe Izadi   Starving pups give up wait for mothers who have left island colonies to hunt fish who have gone far away from warmer coastal waters.

'I don't understand the planning laws — and I'm the planning minister'

NSW Minister for Planning Rob Stokes wants to improve consenting regulations for mining projects.

Peter Hannam, Leesha McKenny   New Planning Minister Rob Stokes has flagged an overhaul of the way large mining projects win approval, signalling that the community will be given greater opportunity to "test the decision".

Sports face a muddy weekend as 'extreme rain' falls to the north

Keeping the rain at bay.

Peter Hannam   Mud wrestling could be the favoured sport this weekend in Sydney as the city cops the fringe of an east coast low likely to bring flooding rains to north-eastern parts of NSW and southern Queensland.

The cyclone that broke the warm spell

A student takes shelter in Sydney on Friday.

Peter Hannam   An east coast low brought unusually cool conditions to eastern Australia and was one factor contributing to an unusually cool April.

Where does all the stormwater go?

Epic journey: Drivers negotiate Oxford Street, Paddington during the Sydney storms.

Lucy Cormack   Between falling from the heavens and reaching the deep blue sea, storm water makes an epic journey through our cities.

Tesla's Elon Musk unveils suite of batteries in roll out of new storage products

Elon Musk at his California HQ on Thursday.

Dana Hull and Mark Chediak   Billionaire Elon Musk reveals ambitious plans to extend energy storage beyond his firm's electric vehicles.

Sydney weather: Bursts of rain to come as north-east cops a drenching

The bigger the umbrella, the better, especially for those in the state's north-east.

Peter Hannam   Sydney is in for a soggy end to the week as emergency services turn their attention to the state's north-east where heavy falls are raising the risk of major riverine flooding.

Climate change may push a sixth of species to extinction, with Australia a focus

Critically endangered Baw Baw frogs may be among the species facing even tougher conditions as the planet warms.

​Climate change could drive up to a sixth of animals and plants on Earth to extinction - which Australian species among the most at risk - a new study finds.

Scientists urge Australia to cut emissions to zero by 2050

Cutting Australian emissions to zero by 2050 is the most crucial target.

Tom Arup   Australia's premier scientific institution has urged the Abbott government to embrace a rapid acceleration in cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, with an ultimate eye to reducing national carbon pollution to zero by mid-century.

Q&A: Has Greg Hunt fixed climate change?

Tree planting soaks up carbon dioxide - but is it enough to help meet Australia's commitments?

Adam Morton   Environment Minister Greg Hunt has hailed the first round of "direct action", saying it has delivered Australia's largest emissions cut ever. Is it a plan for the next 50 years? Or is the future a little more complicated?

Chance of thunderstorms for Sydney but heaviest rain to fall further north

 Pedestrians take cover from the rain on Thursday.

Peter Hannam   The state's second east coast low in as many weeks is likely to bring further heavy rains to north-eastern NSW but largely skirt flood-hit areas around Sydney and the Hunter Valley, meteorologists say.

Sydney weather: Brace for more rains and possible thunderstorms

Council depots have sandbags at the ready as bureau warns of flash flooding.

Peter Hannam   Tired of the rain? Get used to it - as four grey and wet days settle in over the city.