Doom and gloom? Here are the environment stories that cheered us up in 2017
Michael Hopkin and Madeleine De Gabriele
Environment news isn’t all bad, you know. Here are some of 2017’s happier stories, from friendly magpies to rebounding leopards.
The most expensive weather year ever
Economists are tallying the damage from the fires and the hurricanes, and finding their true costs immeasurable.
Hotter temperatures will accelerate migration of asylum-seekers to Europe, says study
EU could face a massive influx by 2100 if carbon emissions hold steady
Cutting-edge statistics yield new insight into attributing, projecting climate change
Special issue of Chance explores complexities of global climate change models that prove existence of climate change, project future events and impact on mortality, economy
Coalition, Labor, Greens and the future of energy in 2018
We asked Josh Frydenberg, Mark Butler and Adam Bandt to share their predictions for 2018 and what’s important. This is what they said.
Electricity target so weak it would require ‘taking every car away’ to meet Paris deal – Greens
Adam Bandt says analysis of emissions targets for electricity sector ‘shows the cost of caving in to the climate deniers’
New water minister commits to extra 450 gigalitres for Murray-Darling
Snowy Hydro expansion could hit nearly $12 billion
The companies signed on to save summer
Big industrial users will be paid to provide emergency relief to help stabilise the power network when it comes under pressure this summer.
2020 RET in hand, with enough projects remaining to deliver 50% renewables
2017 has been an impressive year for renewables, but ends with a major cloud hanging over it: what happens once the RET is sorted?
First thoughts: Snowy 2.0 will lift emissions without more renewables
Snowy 2.0 only makes sense if Australia has a much higher share of renewables than contemplated under the NEG.
Big money demands climate action
While Australian politicians have been running around in circles and failing to agree a policy for decarbonisation, the world’s largest institutional investors have been marshalling their forces to make boards of directors accountable
BHP prepares for a hotter future
Ice sheets frozen for centuries are melting, and changing the world. This government, and Australia, must change, too.
Why we shouldn’t be so quick to demonise bats
Justin Welbergen, Western Sydney University and Kyle Armstrong, University of Adelaide
We need balanced media reporting about bat-borne diseases to help avoid vilification of Australia’s under-appreciated creatures of the night.
Stockyard Hill wind farm locks in finance after setting record low price
Three local banks agree to finance 530MW Stockyard Hill wind project in western Victoria, validating its record low price for wind project in Australia.
Telstra signs up for 429MW wind farm, at stunning low cost
Telstra, ANZ lead consortium to buy output from new 429MW wind farm, and lock in similar low price achieved by Origin earlier this year.
Weather Victoria: BOM outlook for January to March released
Western Victoria and parts of the south can expect a hotter than normal summer with above average day and night temperatures likely, the latest Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlook has predicted.
We must stop the ill-conceived Apple store in Melbourne’s cultural heart
Apple’s planned incursion of Melbourne’s Federation Square mirrors the insidious creep of commerce into pseudo-public spaces all over the world
Create the Great Koala National Park to save icon
A Great Koala National Park would establish a refuge for remaining koalas on the north coast.
Winners and losers of the ACT container deposit scheme
Stalled Alpha coal mine venture could be preparing for fire sale, analysts say
There is speculation that the stalled Gina Rinehart-backed Alpha coal mine project in the Galilee Basin could be progressing, after the company lobbyist met with key opposition politicians during the Queensland election campaign, sparking predictions of an impending fire sale.
Brisbane commuters willing to jump on a bike to avoid congestion, survey finds
Gautam Of Thrones: Adani In Australia Explained Through The House Of Lannister
If you’re struggling to get your head around the fuss over Adani, the Indian mining company hoping to dig a giant hole in the ground…
Speed of Tesla big battery leaves rule-makers struggling to catch up
Tesla big battery’s dramatic intervention after Loy Yang trip, and a separate 0-100MW injection in just 140 milliseconds, illustrates yawning gap between technologies and market rules. The future is here, but market rule makers are not ready for it.
Cost of SA’s state-owned power generators finally revealed
After initially refusing to say how much taxpayers will fork out for nine backup diesel generators, the SA Government reveals they will cost at least $360 million.
Developers to benefit of Crown Land disposal on Kangaroo Island
The potential sale of coastal land to developers of a $30 million golf course and resort on Kangaroo Island will set a dangerous precedent and endanger native vegetation and fauna, environmentalists have warned.
Circumstantial evidence that dog handler fabricated evidence of foxes but ‘conclusive finding’ could not be made
Devonport City Council calls for residents to dob in a dumper
Another Tasmanian council is clamping down on illegal dumping of waste and will install surveillance cameras to try and nab offenders.
Toxic waste rock at McArthur River Mine still a problem, bond inadequate: report
Despite considerable effort on the part of mining giant Glencore, an independent report finds management of toxic combustible waste rock at the NT mine is continuing issue, groundwater is being affected by seepage, and the security bond was inadequate to cover “several hundred years” of the site’s rehabilitation.
McArthur River Mine dumps toxic waste at wrong site
The McArthur River Mine reveals it accidentally dumped potentially acid-forming material at the wrong site, but the NT Government says it’s satisfied with how the matter was handled.
Calls for tighter monitoring in the Torres Strait amid reports of dugong poaching from PNG
Internal documents from a top law enforcement agency in Australia suggest that hunters from Papua New Guinea may be poaching dugong in the Torres Strait in breach of a longstanding treaty on marine management.
Iconic WA mountain range spared from mining
Backlash over mine block
The job-creation credentials of WA’s Labor government have come under fire after it decided to block the development of a new iron ore mine.
Renew Economy: Tesla, Trump, Turnbull and the troglodytes: The best stories of 2017
The death spiral for cars; Tesla’s Big Battery – and electric truck; the two faces of Malcolm Turnbull; and all the other stories that caught our readers’ attention this year.
The Conversation: What you loved in Science and Technology 2017
The year is up, the numbers are in and we’re about to go on summer holidays. Here’s a snapshot of the Science and Technology articles you enjoyed the most in 2017, month by month.
New Delhi tests anti-smog gun to combat air pollution
A giant device shaped like a hair dryer that shoots a stream of atomised water into the sky is being trialled as a way to reduce pollution in India.
The 26,000 tons of radioactive waste under Lake Powell
The West’s uranium boom brought dozens of mills to the banks of the Colorado River — where toxic waste was dumped irresponsibly.
Diverting aid to fund waste collection will save lives and clean the ocean, says charity
UK government should make 100-fold increase in the amount of aid spent on dealing with plastic waste, says Tearfund
U.S. EPA says glyphosate not likely to be carcinogenic to people
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto Co’s top-selling weed killer Roundup, is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, contradicting a World Health Organization panel.
Major journal sounds alarm over global mass poisoning
A leading scientific journal—PLOS Biology—has warned that we are all heavily contaminated and chemical regulation is failing us.
Shutdown of Coal-Fired Power Plant Results in Significant Fetal Health Improvement in Downwind Areas
First study to show fetal health improvement as a result of a coal-fired power plant shutdown due to direct federal level regulation on single pollution source finds 15 percent reduction in …
The biggest thing we forget when talking about food justice
Creating a just food system begins with land—who owns it, how they own it, and how it gets passed down from one generation to the next.
Here’s what bike-sharing programs need to succeed
Iderlina Mateo-Babiano et al
Many short-term bike-hiring programs have been launched amid much fanfare, only for their popularity to decline soon after. Several key factors need to be in place for a program to work.
Losing the wilderness: a 10th has gone since 1992 – and gone for good
A new study warns if the degradation rate continues, all wilderness areas will be at risk over the next 50 years
Amazon dam impacts underestimated due to overlooked vine growth: Study
Habitat fragmentation and biomass reduction on isolated forest islands at the Balbina dam – with trees replaced by lianas – resulted in increased carbon emissions.
Palm oil’s ecological footprint extends to distant forests, study finds
Palm oil, a leading driver of tropical deforestation, may be also wreaking enormous damage on forests well outside established plantation areas, a new study has found.
Scientists just presented a sweeping new estimate of how much humans have transformed the planet
Razing forests or plowing grasslands puts carbon in the atmosphere just as burning fossil fuels does. “We have forgotten half of the story up to now,” a researcher with a new study says.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge battle ends, but drilling not a given
After nearly 40 years of heated debate, Congress voted on Wednesday to open the Alaska refuge to oil drilling. Now, it’s a wait to see who will actually drill and when.
Jamaican jungle safe from mining – for now
A Jamaican pledge to protect a mountainous jungle region from mining is a long-sought victory by an unlikely alliance of greens and the descendants of runaway slaves who claim the land.
When reindeer can’t roam
In Mongolia, the conflict between preserving wilderness and conserving culture is coming to a head.
Sadhguru: ‘We shouldn’t divide the world into East and West on ecology’
India’s rivers are drying up and much of its valuable fertile land risks turning into desert. Ecologist Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev told DW how he is bringing people together to protect land and water.
Ten tips to make your holidays less fraught and more festive
Despite the delight of not having to work for several days or even weeks, holidays come with pressures.