Archive for January, 2013

15% carbon cut needed for UN goal

January 31, 2013

2012-12-01 09:16

((Karim Jaafar, AFP))

 

Doha – The chances of hitting the UN’sglobal warming target are diminishing, but the goal can still be met if greenhouse-gas emissions fall by 15% by 2020, scientists have said.

In a study issued at the world climate talks in Doha, they cautioned against mounting pessimism that the UN’s objective of curbing warming to a safer two degreesCelsius is now out of reach.

“Limiting global warming below 2°C, or even to below 1.5°C, remains technically and economically feasible, but only with political ambitions backed by rapid action starting now,” the team said.

“If nothing more is done except the current pledges, costs would be much higher to reach deeper reductions necessary, and/or the damage from climate impacts would be far greater.”

Climate talks

In the run-up to the 12-day UN talks which opened in Qatar on Monday, the World Bank gave a 20% likelihood of a 4°C rise by 2100 and said a 3°C rise appeared likely.

Separately, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) forecast a rise of 3-5°C on the basis of current pledges.

“The window for reversing emission trends is rapidly narrowing,” the “Climate Action Tracker” report issued here on Friday said.

“Emissions must be reduced by roughly 15% from present levels by 2020 to be on a pathway holding warming below 2°C by 2100.

At present, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, blamed for damaging the planet’s fragile climate system, are scaling new peaks.

Levels of carbon dioxide, the single most important man-made contributor to climate change, rose to 390.9 parts per million in 2011, which is 2.0 ppm higher than in 2010, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Tuesday.

From 1990 to 2011, the warming effect of greenhouse gases has risen 30% it said.

Scrutinising the actions of the four major emitters, the “Climate Action Tracker” said neither China, the United States, the European Union nor Russia were making adequate pledges to tackle their pollution.

But, with the exception of the United States, the pledges that they have made are likely to be met, it said.

China has surged in rankings to become the world’s No.1 carbon polluter, voraciously burning coal to fuel its rise out of poverty.

Right now, China is on track for emissions in 2020 of 14.4 gigatonnes, or billion tonnes, of CO2 or its equivalent, said the report.

But, according to China’s just-unveiled official plans, this “business-as-usual” figure will fall by 4.5 gigatonnes to 9.9 gigatonnes under an ambitious energy-efficiency programme.

“If accurate, this would be the largest single absolute reduction for any country in the history of action on climate change,” said the report.

“By comparison, the emissions of the European Union in 2010 were 4.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.”

The “Climate Action Tracker” is a regularly updated report compiled by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany; a non-profit German science and policy research organisation called Climate Analytics; and Ecofys, a European consultancy on renewable energy and carbon efficiency.

Biggest Thing in Universe Found—Defies Scientific Theory

January 31, 2013
Illustration of the most distant quasar yet found -- for space pictures gallery

A quasar jets energy in an illustration. A newfound quasar cluster is the universe’s biggest known object.

Illustration courtesy M. Kornmesser, ESO

Andrew Fazekas

for National Geographic News

Published January 11, 2013

Talk about a whopper—astronomers have discovered a structure in the universe so large that modern cosmological theory says it should not exist, a new study says. (Also see “Giant ‘Blob’ Is Largest Thing in Universe [2006].“)

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an international team of researchers has discovered a record-breaking cluster of quasars—young active galaxies—stretching four billion light-years across.

“This discovery was very much a surprise, since it does break the cosmological record as the largest structure in the known universe,” said study leader Roger Clowes, an astronomer at University of Central Lancashire in England.

For comparison, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is just a hundred thousand light-years across, while the local supercluster of galaxies in which it’s located, the Virgo Cluster, is only a hundred million light-years wide.

Giant Quasar a Head-Scratcher

Astronomers have known for years that quasars can form immense clusters that stretch to more than 700 million light-years across, said Clowes. But the epic size of this group of 73 quasars, sitting about 9 billion light-years away, has left them scratching their heads.

That’s because current astrophysical models appear to show that the upper size limit for cosmic structures should be no more than 1.2 billion light-years.

“So this represents a challenge to our current understanding and now creates a mystery—rather than solves one,” Clowes said. (Also see “Dark Galaxies Discovered—May Be Cosmic ‘Missing Links.'”)

The titanic structure, known simply as the Large Quasar Group (LQG), also appears to break the rules of a widely accepted cosmological principle, which  says that the universe would look pretty much uniform when observed at the largest scales.

“It could mean that our mathematical description of the universe has been oversimplified—and that would represent a serious difficulty and a serious increase in complexity,” Clowes said.

Decoding Early-Galaxy Evolution

Significant not only for its record-breaking size, the massive structure could possibly shed light on the evolution of galaxies like our own Milky Way. Quasars, which pump out powerful jets of energy, are among the brightest and most energetic objects from when the universe was still young. They represent an early, but brief, stage in the evolution of most galaxies. (See “Earliest Known Galaxies Spied in Deep Hubble Picture.”)

One theory holds that this type of colossal collection of quasars may be precursors to galaxy superclusters in the modern universe—but the exact nature of their connection is still a mystery.

The discovery, a prime target for computer modeling, also needs to be mapped out more thoroughly with telescopes, said Gerard Williger, an astronomer at the University ofLouisville in Kentucky not connected with the study.

“This structure is bigger than we expect based on the shockwaves formed in the universe after the big bang,” said Williger.

“There is very likely some mechanism [that] is turning on quasars over a large scale like this—and in a short time—which could relate to some condition in the early universe.”

Th quasar study was published this week in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You

January 31, 2013

Humans have already set in motion 69 feet of sea-level rise

January 31, 2013

By Chris Mooney

Last week, a much discussed new paper in the journalNature seemed to suggest to some that we needn’t worry too much about the melting of Greenland, the mile-thick mass of ice at the top of the globe. The research found that the Greenland ice sheet seems to have survived a previous warm period in Earth’s history — the Eemian period, some 126,000 years ago — without vanishing (although it did melt considerably).

But Ohio State glaciologist Jason Box isn’t buying it.

At Monday’s Climate Desk Live briefing in Washington, D.C., Box, who has visited Greenland 23 times to track its changing climate, explained that we’ve already pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide 40 percent beyond Eemian levels. What’s more, levels of atmospheric methane are a dramatic 240 percent higher — both with no signs of stopping. “There is no analogue for that in the ice record,” said Box.

And that’s not all. The present mass-scale human burning of trees and vegetation for clearing land and building fires, plus our pumping of aerosols into the atmosphere from human pollution, weren’t happening during the Eemian. These human activities are darkening Greenland’s icy surface, and weakening its ability to bounce incoming sunlight back away from the planet. Instead, more light is absorbed, leading to more melting, in a classic feedback process that is hard to slow down.

“These giants are awake,” said Box of Greenland’s rumbling glaciers, “and they seem to have a bit of a hangover.”

AreaChangeatthe40WidestGreenland3_0

To make matters worse, there’s also Antarctica, the other great planetary ice sheet, with 10 times as much total water as Greenland — all of which could someday be translated into rising sea level. That includes the West Antarctic ice sheet, which is marine- rather than land-based, making it highly vulnerable to melting.

While Greenland is currently contributing twice as much water to sea-level rise as Antarctica, the situation could change in the future. According to Box, it’s kind of as though we’re in a situation of “ice sheet roulette” right now, wondering which one of the big ones will go first.

Box also provided a large-scale perspective on how much sea-level rise humanity has already probably set in motion from the burning of fossil fuels. The answeris staggering: 69 feet, including water from both Greenland and Antarctica, as well as other glaciers based on land from around the world.

GreenlandSummerTemps_1

Scientists like Box aren’t sure precisely when, or how fast, all that water will flow into the seas. They only know that in past periods of Earth’s history, levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and sea levels have followed one another closely [PDF], allowing an inference about where sea level is headed as it, in effect, catches up with the greenhouse gases we’ve unleashed. To be sure, the process will play out over vast time periods — but it has already begun, and sea level is starting to show a curve upward that looks a lot like … well, the semi-notorious “hockey stick.

So what can we do? For Box, any bit of policy helps. “The more we can cool climate, the slower Greenland’s loss will be,” he explained. Cutting greenhouse gases slows the planet’s heating, and with it, the pace of ice sheet losses.

In the meantime, to better understand where we’re headed, Box has launched a scientific project called “Dark Snow,” which seeks to crowdfund a Greenland expedition to help determine just how much our darkening of the great ice sheet in this unprecedented “Anthropocene” era will push us well beyond Eemian territory. The video for that project is below. If the remote, dangerous science of ice sheets intrigues you enough (or scares you enough), then you definitely will want this research to succeed:

This story was produced as part of theClimate Desk collaboration.

Chris Mooney is host of the Point of Inquiry podcast and the author of four books, including The Republican War on Science and The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

Disasters Prompt Older Children to Be More Giving, Younger Ones to Be More Selfish

January 31, 2013

Jan. 30, 2013 — A natural disaster can bring out the best in older children, prompting 9-year-olds to be more willing to share, while 6-year-olds become more selfish. Researchers at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, and Liaoning Normal University made this finding in a rare natural experiment in China around the time of a horrific earthquake.

A crucial difference between the two age groups emerged one month after the disaster. The 6-year-olds’ willingness to share in a test measuring altruism dropped by a third, while among 9-year-olds, willingness to give to others nearly tripled. Three years later, children in the age groups returned to pre-earthquake levels of altruism.

“The study provides the first evidence to suggest that experiencing a natural disaster affects children’s altruistic giving significantly,” said Kang Lee, university distinguished professor at the University of Toronto.

“The immediate negative effect of the earthquake on 6-year-olds suggests that altruism at that age is still fragile,” Lee said.

“We think that empathy is the intervening variable,” said Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatryat the University of Chicago, a member of the research team and a study co-author. The study demonstrates the developmental differences in the growth of empathy, Decety explained.

As a child grow up, the prefrontal cortex matures with improved connections among the circuits involved with emotion. “As they grow older, children become able to better regulate their own vicarious emotions and understand better what they feel, and they are more inclined to act pro-socially,” said Decety.

“Even with the group of 9-year-olds, we show that not only are they more altruistic and give more than the 6-year-olds, but those 9-year olds with higher empathy scores donated significantly more than 9-year-olds with lower scores,” Decety added.

The journal Psychological Science will publish the study in an upcoming issue in a paper titled “Experiencing a Natural Disaster Alters Children’s Altruistic Giving.” Lee, who is a professor at the Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, was a lead author. Two Chinese academics, Hong Li and Yiyuan Li from Liaoning Normal University also were part of the team.

In early 2008, the researchers were in Sichuan, China, working on a study on empathy and altruism among children and had completed the first portion of it. In May 2008, an earthquake struck the region and killed 87,000 people.

The team immediately decided to change the course of their study and explore what the experience of a disaster might mean to the children’s concern for others.

In the study, the team tested children’s altruism by having them individually pick 10 favorite stickers from a set of 100. Afterward, they were told some of their classmates were not included in the test and asked if they would give up some of the stickers for them to enjoy. Without the researcher watching, children would put stickers into anenvelope and seal it if they wanted to share. The amount of stickers they chose to give up was determined to be a measure of altruism.

The children also were given a standard test of empathy, which gauged their reactions to seeing animated vignettes of people who are injured. Nine-year-olds had significantly higher scores on empathy on the test than 6-year-olds.

Although there was a significant impact on altruism one month after the disaster, the study showed that groups of 6-year-olds and 9-year-olds had similar levels of altruism in follow-up tests three years after the disaster — equivalent to the levels observed among 6-year-olds and 9-year-olds immediately before the earthquake.

“Experience with adversity, though generally having negative impacts on children, may in fact be beneficial, at least for older children, in evoking empathy toward others and in turn enhancing their altruistic giving, albeit temporarily,” said Hong Li, also a lead author of the paper.

The John Templeton Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Chinese National Science Foundation supported this research.

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The above story is reprinted from materialsprovided by University of Chicago. The original article was written by William Harms.

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Vegetarianism Can Reduce Risk of Heart Disease by Up to a Third

January 31, 2013

Jan. 30, 2013 — The risk of hospitalisation or death from heart disease is 32% lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish, according to a new study from the University of Oxford.

Heart disease is the single largest cause of death in developed countries, and is responsible for 65,000 deaths each year in the UK alone. The new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that a vegetarian dietcould significantly reduce people’s risk of heart disease.

‘Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease,’ explains Dr Francesca Crowe, lead author of the study at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.

This is the largest study ever conducted in the UK comparing rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

The analysis looked at almost 45,000 volunteers from England and Scotland enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study, of whom 34% were vegetarian. Such a significant representation of vegetarians is rare in studies of this type, and allowed researchers to make more precise estimates of the relative risks between the two groups.

The EPIC-Oxford cohort study was funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council and carried out by the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.

Professor Tim Key, co-author of the study and deputy director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, said: ‘The results clearly show that the risk of heart disease in vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians.’

The Oxford researchers arrived at the figure of 32% risk reduction after accounting for factors such as age, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, educational level and socioeconomic background.

Participants were recruited to the study throughout the 1990s, and completed questionnaires regarding their health and lifestyle when they joined. These included detailed questions on diet and exercise as well as other factors affecting health such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Almost 20,000 participants also had their blood pressures recorded, and gave blood samples for cholesterol testing.

The volunteers were tracked until 2009, during which time researchers identified 1235 cases of heart disease. This comprised 169 deaths and 1066 hospital diagnoses, identified through linkage with hospital records and death certificates. Heart disease cases were validated using data from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP).

The researchers found that vegetarians had lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians, which is thought to be the main reason behind their reduced risk of heart disease.

Vegetarians typically had lower body mass indices (BMI) and fewer cases of diabetes as a result of their diets, although these were not found to significantly affect the results. If the results are adjusted to exclude the effects of BMI, vegetarians remain 28% less likely to develop heart disease.

The findings reinforce the idea that diet is central to prevention of heart disease, and build on previous work looking at the influence of vegetarian diets, the researchers say.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Francesca L Crowe, Paul N Appleby, Ruth C Travis, and Timothy J Key. Risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease among British vegetarians and nonvegetarians: results from the EPIC-Oxford cohort studyAm J Clin Nutr, January 30, 2013 DOI:10.3945/ajcn.112.044073
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Satellite Image Shows Eastern U.S. Severe Weather System

January 31, 2013

Jan. 30, 2013 — A powerful cold front moving from the central United States to the East Coast is wiping out spring-like temperatures and replacing them with winter-time temperatures with powerful storms in between. An image released from NASA using data from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite provides a stunning look at the powerful system that brings a return to winter weather in its wake.

On Jan. 30 at 1825 UTC (1:25 p.m. EST), NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite captured an image of clouds associated with the strong cold front. The visible GOES-13 image shows a line of clouds that stretch from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast and contain powerful thunderstorms with the potential to be severe. The front is moving east to the Atlantic Ocean.

NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite continually provides real-time visible and infrared imagery of weather over the eastern United States. The NASA GOES Project, located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., created the image from GOES data. The colorized image uses GOES-13 satellite visible data of clouds, and is overlaid on a U.S. map created by imagery from the Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer instrument (MODIS), an instrument that flies aboard both the NASA Aqua and Terra satellites.

NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Okla., warned of the risk of severe weather on Jan. 30, stretching from the upper Ohio Valley southward to the central Gulf Coast and eastward to the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S. coast. According to SPC, the main threat will be damaging wind along with the possibility of tornadoes, especially across eastern Alabama into western Georgia.

Early on Jan. 30, officials in Tennessee and Georgia already reported damages from severe storms as the squall line rolled through.

At noon EST on Jan. 30, severe thunderstorm watches were issued by the SPC for several states. The watches include: the western Maryland panhandle, southeast Ohio, southwest Pennsylvania, western Virginia and West Virginia.

This same storm system brought severe weather to the Mississippi Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The storm system has already brought great changes to the Midwest, where Chicago experienced highs in the 60s (F) earlier in the week and today, Jan. 30, is only near 40 F. Chicago is also expecting snow later today and by tomorrow night, Jan. 31, wind chills at night are expected to drop to 10 F to 20 F below zero.

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Noam Chomsky: U.S.–A Top Terrorist State + You’re Welcome Iraq

January 30, 2013

Posted on January 29, 2013 by dandelionsalad

Dandelion Salad

Massacre is NOT SELF-DEFENSE!!Image by Farfahinne via Flickr

Warning

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror ofwar/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

with Noam Chomsky

PressTVGlobalNews·Jan 29, 2013

In this episode of press TV’s documentary program renowned American academic Noam Chomsky says the United States would be recognized as a leading terrorist state if international law is applied.

 

***

Severe Flu Predicted Due to Climate Change

January 30, 2013
January 29, 2013

 

By Daniel Geery

 

The American public can expect to add earlier and more severe flu seasons to the fallout from climate change, according to a research study published online Jan. 28 in PLOS Currents: Influenza.

Submitters Website: http://www.hyperblimp.com

Submitters Bio:

My senatorial political platform can be found here: http://www.voteutah.us. I encourage you to check it out and pass it along (assuming you like it, and particularly if you’re disenchanted with Senator Hatch). If you have friends in Utah, so much the better, but tying it in to articles on national sites, such as Alternet, Common Dreams, Huff Post, Raw Story, The Nation, etc. is encouraged, welcomed, and appreciated. Next, I encourage you to learn about another person as your potential future president. Chris Hedges recently wrote: “In this year’s presidential election I will vote for a third-party candidate, either the Green Party candidate or Rocky Anderson, assuming one of them makes it onto the ballot in New Jersey…” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Anderson My family and I lived off the grid in an earth-sheltered, solar powered underground house, for 15 years, starting in the early ’80s, proving, at least to myself, the feasibility of solar power. Such a feat should be much easier with off-the-shelf materials available now. I wrote a book on earth-sheltered solar greenhouses that has many good ideas, but should be condensed from 400 down to 50 pages, with new info from living off the grid. It’s on my “to do” list. I am 63 with a 21 year old heart–literally, as it was transplanted in 2005 (a virus, they think). This is why I strongly encourage you and everyone else to be an organ donor. I may be the only tenured teacher you’ll meet who got fired with a perfect teaching record. I spent seven years in court fighting that, only to find out that little guys always lose (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Letter-to-NEA-Leadership–by-Daniel-Geery-101027-833.html; recommended reading if you happen to be a parent, teacher, or concerned citizen). I managed to get another teaching job, working in a multi-cultural elementary school for ten years (we had well over 20 native tongues when I left, proving to me that we don’t need war to get along–no one even got killed there!). I spent a few thousand hours working on upward-gliding airships, after reading The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed by John McPhee. But I did my modelling in the water, so it took only two years and 5,000 models to get a shape that worked. You can Google “aquaglider” to learn more about these. As far as I know, this invention represents the first alteration of Archimedes’principle, spelled out 2,500 years ago. “Airside,” the water toys evolved into more of a cigar shape, as this was easier to engineer. Also, solar panels now come as thin as half a manila folder, making it possible for airships to be solar powered. You can see one of the four I made in action by Googling “hyperblimp”(along with many related, advanced versions). Along with others, I was recently honored to receive a Charles Lindbergh Foundation Award, to use these airships to study right whales off Argentina. Now we just have to make it happen! More on that in a podcast, should you be so inclined: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/upr/local-upr-936106.mp3 (followed by Rosalie Winard, bird photographer and friend of Terry Tempest Williams, and a bit on why you should be an organ donor). I recently married a beautiful woman who is an excellent writer and editor, in addition to being a gourmet cook, gardener, kind, gentle, warm, funny, spiritual, and extremely loving. We met via “Plenty-of-Fish” and a number of seemingly cosmic connections. I get blitzed reading the news damn near every day, and wonder why I do it, especially when it’s the same old shit recycled, just more of it. In spite of Barbara Ehrenreich and reality, I’m a sucker for positive thinking; I recently finished reading Positivity, by Barbara Fredrickson, and recommend it, in the interest of your own sanity. I like OpEd and think Rob Kall has done some wonderful things, but if someone could help out with the graphics and kinks in the system here, I’d really appreciate it.

Opponents of “Corporate Personhood” Eye U.S. Constitution

January 30, 2013

Mathew Cardinale
Inter Press Service/News Analysis
Published: Tuesday 29 January 2013
Passing a constitutional amendment is a daunting task, requiring the support of two-thirds of the U.S. House and Senate, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures.
Article image

There is a growing national movement to establish a 28th amendment to the constitution of the United States to address the issue of unlimited corporate spending in elections, although the groups working on the issue diverge on what exactly the amendment should say.

One national coalition called Move to Amend (MTA) is led by David Cobb. A Green Party candidate for president in 2006, Cobb has been touring the country calling for a constitutional amendment to “clearly establish that money is not speech, a corporation is not a person, all corporations are subject to regulation, all campaign contributions will be disclosed, and (that) allows for no loopholes,” according to the MTA website.

But passing a constitutional amendment is a daunting task, requiring the support of two-thirds of the U.S. House and Senate, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures.

Cobb believes that it will take about 10 years to build a grassroots movement to successfully lobby for the enactment of the amendment, but that it can be accomplished eventually.

“It’s a lot of work, but so was the Civil Rights Movement, so was women’s suffrage,” Cobb told IPS.

“A small group of ruling elites has hijacked every one of the institutions in this country – the media and both political parties. There’s a corporatized culture and we have to change the power structure. The only way we see is to build a mass, multiracial movement,” he said.

“Move to Amend is a coalition coming together specifically to work together for (abolishing) corporate personhood. We’ve got 258,000 people who are participating with us specifically on this project. There’s lots of work going on now, and it’s coalescing.”

 

The effort to amend the U.S. constitution has in part been a reaction to the controversial ruling of the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, which found that the first amendment to the U.S. constitution, on freedom of speech, prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. 

In the ruling, corporations were essentially viewed as having the same rights as people, thus coining the term corporate personhood.

Activists held rallies across the U.S. earlier this month to protest the third anniversary of the Citizens United ruling.

Data from the 2012 national elections have begun to reveal an unprecedented amount of spending in the elections, about six billion dollars, much of which is untraceable due to a new phenomenon called SuperPACs, political action committees that have literally no limit to how much they can spend, as well as shadow corporations, which are created for the sole purpose of funneling money into elections.

One of the main organizing strategies by MTA and other groups to support an eventual constitutional amendment is to get local councils and commissions at the city and county levels to adopt resolutions in support of such an amendment.

According to the MTA website, there are at least 183 municipal government resolutions, 19 local ordinances, and three state-level resolutions in Hawaii, Montana, and Vermont that have passed to ban corporate personhood.

In addition, there are 79 local resolutions and 10 state resolutions that have also passed, but that MTA considers partial resolutions because they do not completely address the issue of corporate constitutional rights.

Most recently, on Jan. 22, the city council in Conway, Arkansas, passed a resolution with unanimous support.

MTA is itself a coalition of hundreds of organizations, and MTA has dozens of affiliates in cities throughout the U.S.

Other organizations that are working on this issue nationally include United for the People, which is also a coalition and which also has affiliates; in addition to Free Speech for the People, People for the American Way, and Public Citizen.

There has been some disagreement, though, among members of congress and various advocacy groups as to what the exact language of the constitutional amendment should be.

At least six different members of congress introduced legislation in 2011 to amend the constitution to in one way or another address the issue of unlimited corporate spending in U.S. elections.

Meanwhile, different organizations are supporting different versions of the bill. For example, Free Speech for the People is supporting the Edwards proposal and the McGovern proposal. People for the American Way is supporting the Udall proposal. And Public Citizen is supporting the Deutch proposal, which is the counterpart in the House to the Sanders proposal in the Senate.

Move to Amend presents on its website what it believes to be the strongest version of the proposed amendment, adding, “It is our belief that we need to operate on the assumption that once an Amendment comes out of Congress we won’t get another shot. So we MUST get it right!”

“I work on many issues. When you get to the bottom of just about every issue, you come up against the wall of the unholy alliance of money, corporate interest, and politicians,” Stacey Hopkins, lead organizer for United for the People Georgia and council organizer for MoveOn Atlanta, told IPS.

“I was active in doing voter registration, and we saw where dark money groups were backing voter suppression efforts around the country,” Hopkins said.

“We’ve also seen groups backing efforts to repeal Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, and as an African American, this is something that I take very personally,” Hopkins said.