When economist Carl Pray heard about plans for the first international assessment of agricultural research, a gold standard sprang to mind: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But things didn't turn out the way he expected.

One million tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide are dissolved into the oceans every hour, a process that helps maintain the Earth's delicate carbon balance. But CO2 also makes seawater more acidic, and too much of it can wreak havoc on a marine species.

Focus on the whole forest and think big. That's the intent of a bill, introduced in the U.S. Senate, that would direct the Forest Service to fund large, collaborative projects to reduce fire risk, improve forest health and stimulate economic development.

A major attempt to streamline-or, critics claim, politicize-the revision of important air-quality standards has run into trouble. One year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overhauled its lengthy process of updating the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which have far-reaching impacts on many regulations. Some critics feared the move would allow politics to trump science by giving agency appointees more say and sidelining external scientific review.