From Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" to heated Congressional debates about federal tax incentives for new alternative fuels, the issue of coal's place in supplying America's energy and fuel needs has taken on added importance in recent months.

A research institute at the University of Kentucky, though, has been exploring ways to increase the efficiency of converting coal to liquid fuel well in advance of national discussions of the process.

A team of international researchers has collected the oldest ever recovered DNA samples and used them to show that Greenland was much warmer at some point during the last Ice Age than most people have believed. Their findings also confirm that the whole ice sheet will not melt and bring about the tremendous sea-level rises which have been the subject of so much discussion.

Klyuchevskoy (pronounced Kloo-shef-skoy), a stratovolcano located in the north central region of the Kamchatka Peninsula, is blasting ash up to 32,000 feet in the air, and has diverted air traffic headed toward the Far East. This is the largest eruption to occur in the North Pacific in a decade, and is providing students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks a unique opportunity to collaborate with scientists, as well as state and federal agencies.

Geodesists from the University of Bonn have remeasured the size of the Earth in a long lasting international cooperation project.

The blue planet is accordingly some millimeters smaller than up to now assumed. The results are important, for example, to be able to demonstrate a climate contingent rise in sea level.

A Cardiff University research collaboration is working to recycle precious metals from road dusts and vehicle exhausts to create greener energy.

The innovative research by scientists from the School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Science working with the University of Birmingham is to be featured at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (2-5 July).

High Arctic ponds -- the most common source of surface water in many polar regions -- are now beginning to evaporate due to recent climate warming, say two of Canada’s leading environmental scientists.

John Smol (Professor of Biology at Queen’s University and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change) and Marianne Douglas (Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Director of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta) will publish their startling conclusions next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

For the first time, a team of experts is preparing to create tsunami in a controlled environment in order to study their effects on buildings and coastlines - ultimately paving the way for the design of new structures better able to withstand their impact.

Dr Tiziana Rossetto, UCL Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, unveiled plans to develop an innovative new tsunami generator capable of creating scaled-down versions of the devastating waves. The UCL team will be working with marine engineering specialists HR Wallingford (HRW) throughout the project.

Research has uncovered alarming evidence that high Arctic ponds, many which have been permanent bodies of water for thousands of years, are completely drying out during the polar summer. These shallow ponds, which dot the Arctic landscape, are important indicators of environment change and are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change because of their low water volume.

Ongoing field trials since 2002 by a team that includes 16 farmers, Cornell researchers and Cornell Cooperative Extension field crops educators in 10 counties are showing the value of on-farm research. Their results are successfully quantifying and predicting the nitrogen needs for growing corn, saving farmers money and reducing environmental impact.

Using echo-sounding equipment to create images and maps of areas below the ocean floor, researchers have begun to unravel a new story about the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Images of areas below the Eastern Ross Sea, next to West Antarctica, provide evidence that the subcontinent was involved in the general growth of the Antarctic Ice Sheet as it formed many millions of years ago, according to scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The National Science Foundation provided funding for the project.