Latest environment news

China's economic shift a double-edged sword

Philip Wen and Peter Hannam 11:22 PM   China is promising peak carbon emissions by 2030 - but it could happen much sooner than forecast, and will be painful for many, including Australia's exporters.

China eyes new coal curbs

China's coal industry faces challenges on multiple fronts.

Philip Wen and Peter Hannam 10:55 AM   China is considering aggressive new curbs on coal consumption as it accelerates efforts to transform its economy and tackle climate change.

More heat on the way after record hot start to October

Early-season records fell at many sites during this week's heatwave over southern Australia.

Peter Hannam 2:40 PM   Southern Australia smashed heat records this month even without the usual warming in the Red Centre and more hot weather is on the way, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Turnbull government appoints Australia's first wind farm commissioner

The Turnbull government has appointed a wind farm commissioner to handle complaints against the industry.

Tom Arup 1:49 PM   Australia's first wind farm commissioner has been appointed by the Turnbull government, with the former chairman of the telecommunications industry watchdog, Andrew Dyer, to take the role for three years.

More than a third of world's coral reef faces major bleaching event

A before and after image of coral bleaching in American Samoa, with the right image taken in December 2014

Saffron Howden   A massive, global coral bleaching event is underway which could affect 38 per cent of the world's reefs by year's end, including the Great Barrier Reef, scientists have revealed.

Federal climate authority may be spared the axe

Wendy Craik, the new chair of the Climate Change Authority, when she was head of the National Farmers Federation in 2000.

Peter Hannam   The Turnbull government has appointed former National Farmers Federation head Wendy Craik and four others to the board of the Climate Change Authority for five-year terms, indicating the agency may yet be spared the axe.

El Nino unmasked, pointing to a hot, drier October for Australia

Long, hot summer: Adam Watkin douses spot fires near his home on Three Chain Road near Lancefield in Victoria.

Peter Hannam   The impacts of the monster El Nino in the Pacific are likely to intensify across much of Australia, including worsening drought and an elevated bushfire threat, after conditions that were nullifying its effects suddenly retreated.

The El Nino crisis you’ve never heard of

Matt Wade dinkus Dinkus

Matt Wade 8:54 PM   A fresh crisis is brewing in the Horn of Africa and the cause is very familiar to Australians: El Nino.

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Warm weather with a chance of rain

A swamp wallaby eating Blooms of a wattle tree in Tidbinbilla.

Emma Kelly 8:17 PM   The first of several possible storms for the weekend passed over Canberra on Friday evening as the Bureau of Meteorology warned of a severe thunderstorm in the region.

Snake bite 'like someone had thrown a rock'

Sarah Adam had a nasty shock on the October long weekend when she found a red-bellied black snake at her feet.

Lucy Cormack 5:34 PM   Sarah Adam was buckling her kids into the car when she felt instant pain - 'like someone had thrown a rock'. What had really happened would be much worse.

'Dog elimination day': Bali confronts rabies


Jewel Topsfield 1:38 PM   It's a gruesome sight, but officials say it is a necessary step after 15 people died from rabies in Bali.

Stunning images of this week's Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis as seen over Derwentwater, near Keswick, in England, on Thursday.

Sarah Kaplan and Fred Barbash   Hundreds of people in northern hemisphere go outside with their cameras in hopes of capturing colourful displays.

BP bight well's spill threat questioned

The 67,000 tonne oil rig Ocean Great White nears completion in Ulsan, South Korea.

Andrew Darby   Petroleum giant BP ​has lodged an environmental plan with the Federal Government for the first deep drilling in the waters of the Great Australian Bight, as it settles the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the United States for $A27 billion.

How we're killing our turtles

An x-ray showing a plastic bag that was swallowed by a green turtle.

Lucy Cormack   Every second, 159 single-use plastic bags are used across Australia. While some states have bans, NSW is still plastic bag-full. Environmental groups are asking why.

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Meet the newly discovered hog-nosed rat

Good for slurping: The hog-nosed rat from Indonesia.

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown mammal, the hog-nosed rat, with features that have not been seen by science before.

Britain mulls coal power exit by 2023

Most of our electricity generation is reliant on coal.

Alex Morales and Rachel Morison   Britain is considering whether to close all of its 12 coal-fired power plants by 2023.

The moment the southerly buster hit Sydney

Doppler radar shows the wind gusts reaching Sydney Harbour just after 5am on Wednesday.

Peter Hannam   Meteorologists predicted the southerly buster would hit the city from about 5am on Wednesday, and that's precisely when it swept over Sydney Airport.

'The plain packaging fiasco for climate change'

"It means governments won't be bold and ambitious as they should be."

Peter Hannam   The Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens to undermine environment protection and could limit governments' ability to ramp up necessary action on climate change, green groups say.

Sydney's heat to be blown away by damaging winds

Bronte Beach won't be so pleasant on Wednesday morning when the cool change arrives.

Peter Hannam   Sydney unusual early-season heat will come to an abrupt - if temporary - halt on Wednesday as a southerly buster moves up the NSW coast.

US hunter fends off grizzly bear by sticking arm into its throat

Chase Dellwo, 26, is recovering after he survived a grizzly bear mauling.

Laura Zuckerman   A hunter tracking elk in the Montana mountains said he fended off an attacking grizzly bear by shoving his arm into its throat to induce a gag reflex that would frighten it away, according to state wildlife managers.

Australia left 'flat-footed' as Paris climate pact takes shape

The working draft for the Paris climate summit includes an option to negotiate for a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees rather than 2 degrees.

Peter Hannam   Countries should agree to review their carbon emission reduction policies every five years to ensure dangerous global warming can be avoided, according to a draft United Nations agreement being circulated before the Paris summit due to start next month.

New Delhi given 3 days to come up with plan to fight pollution

The view of west of Delhi.

Aditya Kalra   India's Supreme Court has given New Delhi three days to come up with a plan to clean up the air in a city ranked by the World Health Organisation as the most polluted in the world.

Fall in China's coal use here to stay, leading expert says

Professor Qi Ye, one of the world's leading experts on Chinese environmental policy, is in Melbourne this week speaking at a climate investors' conference.

Tom Arup   The historic fall in China's coal use is a clear and consistent trend and should be factored in by Australian business, one of the world's leading experts on China's environment policy says.

Antarctic ice loss challenged by new NASA study

Australian scientists obtaining ice core samples from Aurora Basin, East Antarctica.

Andrew Darby   The hostile home of the blizzard may have been more like a climate change friend.

Monkeys mistreated despite legal protection: anti-cruelty group

A macaque used in an experiment, in a photo taken from a Cruelty Free International investigation.

A British law that is supposed to give laboratory monkeys special protection has failed to prevent large numbers of the primates from being subjected to "unnecessary and unjustifiable" testing, a leading animal rights organisation claims.

New species of mammal discovered: meet the hog-nosed rat

Meet the newest mammal discovered: the hog-nosed rat from Indonesia.

Bridie Smith   As rats go, this one is pretty cute. And until Tuesday, the world was oblivious to its existence.

Toughen climate action every five years, Paris summit draft suggests

Emissions will come under regular reviews, according to a draft of the Paris summit accord being discussed.

All nations should agree to toughen curbs on greenhouse gas emissions every five years under a UN accord to combat global warming due in December, according to a first suggested text of a UN agreement on Monday.

Citigroup, citing climate change, will cut financing for coal

Coal industry loses a big backer.

Alex Nussbaum   ​Citigroup Inc., the third-biggest US bank, said it will cut back on financing for coal mining projects, in the latest blow to the industry that's viewed as a key contributor to global warming.

Victoria sleepwalking towards 2020 renewable energy goal

A wind farm in Port Fairy, Victoria.

Tom Arup   Victoria could hit its initial 20 per cent renewable energy target for 2020 by barely lifting a finger, energy analysts have found.

Frogs face 'mass extinction'

Mass extinction: The global frog population is under threat.

Rachel Browne   Frogs face "mass extinction" in the next century, according to research by Macquarie University expert Dr John Alroy.