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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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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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