When it comes to matters of the planet’s health, it’s not often we can applaud Australia’s performance on the global stage. But at the COP15 nature summit in Canada this past fortnight, Australia led the charge on some of the most significant and historic deals to protect and restore life on Earth.

COP15 saw nations come together to agree on a plan for nature and humanity to live in harmony. Forming such a global agreement has never been more pressing. If we carry on as normal, new evidence suggests climate change and habitat destruction will see 10% of land animals vanish from their local areas by 2050.

196 delegates committed to 23 targets to stem this tide of extinction. Among the most crucial is the target to protect around a third of nature by 2030.

But, as RMIT University Professor Sarah Bekessy writes, the outcome is far from perfect. For example, world leaders set a goal of achieving zero new extinctions by 2050 – but we cannot wait this long. “28 years of more species loss will leave the diversity of life depleted, undermining our environments, food systems, culture and way of life,” she writes.

Anthea Batsakis

Deputy Environment + Energy Editor

The historic COP15 outcome is an imperfect game-changer for saving nature. Here’s why Australia did us proud

Sarah Bekessy, RMIT University; Brendan Wintle, The University of Melbourne; Jack Pascoe, The University of Melbourne; James Fitzsimons, Deakin University; Rachel Morgain, The University of Melbourne; Rebecca Spindler, UNSW Sydney

The planet is entering its sixth mass extinction event. This global nature summit is our best change to stop this tide of destruction.

View from The Hill: Rudd is highly qualified for Washington, but might find the diplomatic corset constricting

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Albanese has always been a supporter but in government, Rudd was a highly divisive figure. His controlling leadership style, micromanagement and temper outbursts were publicly and harshly condemned by various colleagues.

The Morrison government spent a record amount on taxpayer-funded advertising, new data reveal

Kate Griffiths, Grattan Institute; Anika Stobart, Grattan Institute

Politicisation of taxpayer-funded advertising is wasteful and creates an uneven playing field in elections.

Australia has a plan to fix its school teacher shortage. Will it work?

Paul Kidson, Australian Catholic University

To use the language of a school report, the teacher shortage plan is a good effort and a positive start. But there are areas that need improvement.

New fossil foot analysis reveals the surprising and varied lifestyles of dinosaur bird ancestors

Phil Bell, University of New England

The feet of a bird tell us a lot about its life. Newly described, the fossil feet of the ancestors of modern birds reveal how superbly adapted they were to their world.

Bedtime strategies for kids with autism and ADHD can help all families get more sleep

Nicole Rinehart, Monash University; Emily Pattison, Monash University; Nicole Papadopoulos, Monash University

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for the whole family. Here are some tips to try if your child struggles with poor sleep.

NZ report card 2022: some foreign bragging rights but room for improvement at home

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato

As the year ends, how has New Zealand fared on global and domestic measurements, from social and economic freedoms to tackling poverty and homelessness?

For Australia to lead the way on green hydrogen, first we must find enough water

Rebecca Lester, Deakin University; David Downie, Deakin University; Don Gunasekera, Deakin University; Wendy Timms, Deakin University

Australia’s emerging green hydrogen industry requires a secure supply of high-quality water. Competing demands for this scarce resource mean careful planning is needed to meet all water users’ needs.

Proceed with caution: the trouble with trigger warnings

Jessica Gildersleeve, University of Southern Queensland; India Bryce; Kate Cantrell, University of Southern Queensland

Trigger warnings are increasingly ubiquitous but recent research finds they are ineffective, and possibly harmful, if used in a tokenistic way.

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