acidic oceans: Dissolved CO2 makes water more acidic. UK researchers saw a fall in the species numbers and snails with their shells disintegrating in vents in the Mediterranean sea. They say impacts such as changing of marine food web and decrease in biodiversity might become common with the increase of CO2 levels. Some of the extra CO2 emitted enters the oceans, acidifying waters globally.

Many aspects of the Indian scientific development are extremely unsatisfactory, lacking in both quality and quantity. Although the outreach of teaching and research programmes has increased considerably, populist political themes are favoured and special institutions have been created where research is undertaken independent of the university system. This article reviews the present scene in science education, and identifies the major problems and the challenges confronting the institutions involved in education and research.

Scottsdale, AZ

Doomsday predictions are funny things. We are predisposed to pay attention to bad news, and the news industry thrives on disasters. Yet our fascination is fickle. If the warning is too scary or distressing, we attack the messenger as a doom-monger. Take the 1972 book The Limits to Growth, one of the first efforts to predict the future using computer models. It found that if trends in population, industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion continued unchanged, resources would eventually run out. (Editorial)

The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) was set up to take stock of our knowledge, technology and policy, and help find a way to feed the world without destroying it . With $12 million funding from the World Bank, UN Environment Programme, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and others, it has been a staggering enterprise, involving dialogue between farmers, industry, governments, non-governmental organisations and other civil society groups.

Environmental policymaking has been equated with the art of making the right decisions based on an insufficient understanding of the underlying problems.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that President George W. Bush had personally intervened to weaken new regulations to control smog just as they were about to be announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In response, advocates of tighter standards predictably charged that the president had overturned a scientific judgement. Carol Browner, who headed the EPA under President Bill Clinton, put the matter starkly, telling the Post that the Clean Air Act creates "a moral and ethical commitment that we're going to let the science tell us what to do'.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Mauna Loa CO2 record, the longest continuous record of CO2 in the atmosphere. Initiated by Charles D. Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the record provided the first compelling evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was rising.

As the energy industry hungrily eyes methane hydrates, scientists ponder the fuel's impact on climate.

Climate change authorities long ago tagged carbon dioxide public enemy number one. Now, there may be a new number two: tiny particles of black carbon, or soot. According to a new analysis reported online in Nature Geoscience, climate scientists are concluding that reports such as last November's assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may seriously underestimate black carbon's role in global warming.

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