Environment + Energy – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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Smoke from hazard reduction burning has blanketed parts of Sydney, as firefighters prepare for a ‘horrific’ bushfire season. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Dry winter primes Sydney Basin for early start of bushfire season

In 2013 a mild and dry winter led to some of the most destructive bushfires in NSW history. Now new modelling shows 2017 record-breaking winter warmth has created worryingly similar conditions.
Fire threatening a house in Pelican Bay in 2006. If you need to shelter from a fire in your house, know where your exits are and be aware of surrounding vegetation. thinboyfatter/Flickr

Where to take refuge in your home during a bushfire

Leaving early is the best response to a bushfire, but it's not always possible. Every house is different, but there are some general guidelines for finding the safest spots to shelter in your home.
Coal-fired power stations, metal smelting and vehicle emissions all pump mercury into the atmosphere. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

Australia emits mercury at double the global average

Australia is the 16th-largest emitter of mercury in the world. A huge amount comes from coal power stations – and a new report argues our pollution guidelines are hopelessly lax.
Former US Vice President and Chair of the Climate Reality Project Al Gore and Victoria’s climate and energy minister Lily D'Ambrosio (right) ride on a tram after speaking at the climate conference in Melbourne. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Costly signals needed to deliver inconvenient truth

Taking inspiration from the spread of world religions, Quentin Atkinson and Shaun Hendy argue scientists need to do more to signal commitment to ideas they want to spread.
Amid a sea of troubles – including the premature loss of their CEO and a money-laundering scandal – the CBA is facing a shareholder lawsuit. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Climate change is a financial risk, according to a lawsuit against the CBA

A new lawsuit against the CBA puts climate change in a new legal light: a financial hazard. The case opens up fresh lines of attack on institutions that contribute to climate change.
Avoiding fires in Indonesia’s peatlands should be a common goal of everyone involved. Antara Foto/Jessica Helena Wuysang/ via REUTERS

People, palm oil, pulp and planet: four perspectives on Indonesia’s fire-stricken peatlands

Indonesian peatlands are important to many people: farmers, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and conservationists. But preserving this value for everyone will mean listening to everyone's concerns.
Gene drives aim to deliberately spread bad genes when invasive species such as mice reproduce. Colin Robert Varndell/shutterstock.com

‘Gene drives’ could wipe out whole populations of pests in one fell swoop

Releasing just 100 mice carrying a faulty gene designed to stop them reproducing can remove an entire population of 50,000, a new study shows, paving the way for new eradication efforts.
A new study, recently published in the journal Bird Conservation International, will help inform the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Rob Davis

The good news and bad news about the rare birds of Papua New Guinea

A team of researchers led by Edith Cowan University have surveyed the PNG island of New Britain to see how the bird population is faring. There's good news and bad news.
A boy plays cricket among smoke in Karachi. Deaths from air pollution across the globe will increase as climate change accelerates. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Climate change set to increase air pollution deaths by hundreds of thousands by 2100

A new study suggests climate change will cause changes to patterns of ground-level ozone and smog – two deadly pollutants set to increase deaths by about 260,000 worldwide by the end of the century.
Free-range egg producers trade heavily on their implied ethical and nutritional value. But what are you really getting? REUTERS/Jason Lee

How to know what you’re getting when you buy free-range eggs

After Snowdale Holdings was penalised A$1 million for lying about their eggs being free-range, here are some tips on getting what you pay for in the supermarket.
Giant kelp can grow up to 60cm a day, given the right conditions. Joe Belanger/shutterstock.com

How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate

In an extract from his new book, Tim Flannery explains how giant kelp farms could suck carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the ocean's depths, while encouraging species like fish and oysters.