Germany has announced plans for a total nuclear phaseout in 10 years and an ambitious transition to renewable energy. But one big challenge is distribution, and new power lines are planned. Opposition is growing among Germans who say the power-grid expansion will hurt their homes, land and lives.
"We've had time to act — and essentially we haven't acted," says science journalist Michael Lemonick. He describes the threats posed by climate change in his new book, Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future.
Critics have charged that the two-year federal investigation into two researchers who wrote a famous report on drowned polar bears was a witch hunt. The probe is over, but the scientists have not been allowed to see its conclusions, their lawyer says.
When a powerful tornado slammed into Joplin, Mo., in May 2011, 161 people were killed. The tornado also knocked down thousands of buildings and destroyed more than 15,000 of the city's trees. Lack of rain is now threatening the survival of thousands of donated saplings planted to reforest Joplin.
Not every farm in the state was blessed with an aquifer for irrigation. For those that are, crops have flourished despite the drought that has stricken much of the U.S. Farmers dependent on rain, however, are stuck with devastating crop losses.
Shark fin soup is a delicacy, but consumers may not be aware they're eating threatened species. Scientists hope the methods they've devised to trace shark DNA in bowls of soup can help law enforcement officials track contraband in states where sales are illegal.
Maryland and Virginia are still in the top 20 most polluting states when it comes to power plants, according to one environmental group's rankings, but Maryland improved last year while Virginia's ranking increased.
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