Real versus fake? When it comes to Christmas trees, the answer is a ''no-brainer'', says Peter Ampt, a University of Sydney expert. ''Real is greener, for sure.''
Most real trees sold in Sydney are grown locally and the required transportation is minimal. In contrast, the majority of artificial trees are made in China, using aluminium and plastics, requiring energy to transport, manufacture and ship to markets around the world, said Mr Ampt, who lectures in natural resource management.
North Queensland researchers say they have found a way to turn the "junk" from the sugar industry into luxury perfumes.
James Cook University is using air and sunlight to convert sugar cane and essential oil derivatives into pharmaceuticals, used to make perfume.
NSW has a long tradition of exporting trash to Queensland. This is generally referred to as Schoolies Week.
But they also export actual garbage. Huge reeking truckloads of it, hauled for hundreds of kilometres along highways by diesel-burning semis before being deposited in Queensland garbage dumps.
Australia rates among the world's highest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in new figures released by British researchers.
In 2011, Australia recorded 17.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person, on par with the US, a team of specialist climate change researchers at the University of East Anglia has reported.
"The United States, Canada and Australia are really the three [countries] that have much bigger emissions per person than any other."
The melting of polar ice caps raised sea levels by nearly 11 millimetres in the past two decades, scientists say, calling it the most definitive measure yet of the impact of climate change.
There have been more than 30 previous estimates of whether and how much the ice caps are shrinking. But the numbers were often vague, with wide ranges, and different studies sometimes contradicted each other, the researchers said.
The new study, released November 30, in the US journal Science, combines data from 10 different satellites since 1992, carefully matching up time periods and geographical locations to make a more accurate and wider-ranging assessment.
The figure - among the most alarming of the latest forecasts by climate scientists - is at least double the 2C target set by UN members struggling for a global deal on climate change.
In 2011, global carbon emissions were 54 per cent above 1990 levels, according to the research, published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, by the Global Carbon Project consortium.
A central Queensland council has taken special steps to deter illegal fishers from taking valuable fish stocks from the Rockhampton barrage.
The Rockhampton Regional Council has installed new security measures at the facility, including loudspeakers, spotlights and video cameras with the ability to zoom in on offenders.
Evidence that global warming is man-made is getting stronger, the head of a UN panel of climate scientists said, in a further blow to sceptics who argue rising temperatures can be explained by natural variations.
Rajendra Pachauri spoke on the sidelines of a conference in Qatar where 200 nations are trying to reach a deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases to avert floods, droughts, heatwaves and mounting sea levels.
The influential UN climate panel said the probability human activity was the main cause of climate change was "at least 90 per cent" in its last report in 2007.
Pachauri told Reuters late on Wednesday he expected the panel would raise the level of that likelihood even higher in its next report, due in 2013.
The world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.
"The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started."
While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic's stores are measured in tens of billions.
An academic on Queensland's Gold Coast says new research challenges the notion that bull sharks like to live close to homes in canal developments.
Dr Jonathan Werry, from Griffith University, says a three-year study, which included tracking bull sharks in the Gold Coast canals, indicates young bull sharks prefer to remain in rivers.
Dr Werry says the river conditions appear more attractive for the sharks.