A planned $12.3 billion coal mine in Australia has been “deferred” for now, a major victory for climate activists and conservationists trying to protect the nearby Great Barrier Reef. The Carmichael coal mine would have reportedly created as many as 5,000 construction jobs, but a study published last week found that it would have doubled Australia’s carbon emissions. The Queensland government had offered Indian billionaire Gautam Adani a “royalties holiday” subsidy that would have saved his company hundreds of millions of dollars, making it a potentially lucrative endeavor, but growing resistance to that tax scheme seems to have paved the way for Adani to pull out—at least for now.
Yet another new study illustrates the potentially deadly impact that climate change will pose for many migrating bird species. This time around research into North American songbirds looked at how warmer springs will cause plants to grow either earlier or later than usual. It might be just a few days in either direction, but that’s enough to cause problems for nine out of 48 studied bird species, which researchers say will now have trouble finding the right insects to eat, impacting the birds’ ability to breed. This follows research published last year which found that similar effects could be felt by hundreds of bird species across five continents.
Government emissions tests have drastically underestimated the pollution created by diesel trucks, cars and other vehicles, according to a study published this week in Nature. Instead of the previously estimated 9.4 million tons of emissions worldwide, researchers calculate the actual amount was 5 million tons higher, saying the discrepancy comes from not testing vehicles under real-world conditions. The study estimates the added soot and smog could be responsible for an additional 38,000 deaths a year from heart and lung diseases. Most of those added deaths would be in the EU, China and India, which have a higher proportion of diesel vehicles. Ironically, the study comes at a time when one lab that could help better understand diesel emissions, the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, faces severe budget cuts under President Trump’s budget plan.