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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Study Questions Value of Natural Gas in Fighting Climate Change

A new study argues that replacing all the world's coal power plants with natural gas would do little to slow global warming this century.

In other environmental news, the Tennessee legislature has given legal protection to public school teachers who challenge the science of climate change and evolution.

Two California researchers whose work has documented the dangers of air pollution have been awarded the 2012 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. They are John H. Seinfeld, a professor of chemical engineering at Caltech, and Kirk R. Smith, a professor of global environmental health, at UC Berkeley.

According to one new study, the average snowfall depth in the Sierra Nevada mountains has been relatively steady over the past 130 years. Study author John Christy at the University of Alabama contends the findings contradict concerns that snowfall in the Sierra Nevada is disappearing due to manmade climate change.

Researchers say that farmers might be putting the monarch butterfly in peril by planting genetically engineered corn and soybeans that are herbicide-resistant. This has allowed the virtual eradication of weeds, including milkweed, which is the host plant for the eggs and caterpillars produced by monarchs.


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PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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