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Impact of Global Warming

Industrial Civilization has Potential to Trigger Mass Extinction

2013 arctic methane releases

The 10 minute film "Last Hours" is designed to awaken people to the fact that industrial civilization with its production of greenhouse gases has the ability to trigger a mass extinction which could threaten not just human civilization, but the very existence of human life on this planet.

Burning fossil fuels releases carbon that heats the atmosphere and the seas through the greenhouse gas effect. This is happening most rapidly at the polar extremes.  Methane is already being released from deposits beneath melting arctic ice, from the warming northern-hemisphere tundra, and from worldwide continental-shelf undersea methane frozen in water called methane hydrate.

If we fail to significantly reduce the use of carbon-based fossil fuels, this freed methane threatens to greatly increase the speed of global warming, potentially producing a disaster beyond the ability of the human species to adapt.

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Largest Climate Rally in U.S.

keystone xl demonstrators with poster 21413

Led by the Sierra Club,,  the National Resources Defense Council, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and other partners, an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people gathered in Washington D. C. on the Sunday before Presidents Day for the Forward on Climate Rally to ask President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This makes this rally to protect our water and our climate the largest climate rally the U.S. has known.  See Amy Goodman's Democracy Now program on what Bill McKibben founder of; Van Jones, President Obama's green jobs advisor; indigenous leaders from Canada; and others had to say at the rally.

The Natural Resources Defense Council emphasizes that the Keystone XL pipeline would lock the U.S. into a long-term commitment to an energy infrastructure that relies on dirty oil.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that Keystone XL would increase annual carbon emissions by the equivalent of  having 6.2 million cars on the road for 50 years.  The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook estimates that Tar Sands production of 4.6 million barrels a day — far below the oil industry’s 2030 goal of 6 million barrels a day — will cause global temperature to rise by six degrees Celsius with catastrophic results.  The World Energy Outlook states that "Globally, the oil industry as a whole is also lining up enough production capacity to cook the climate several times over."

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Mobilizing to Save Civilization: The New Energy Economy - Lester Brown

"The challenge is to save civilization itself," says environmentalist Lester Brown in this documentary based on his "Plan B" book.  This video delivers a clear and unflinching message – either confront the realities of climate change or suffer the consequences of lost civilizations and failed political states.

Brown, together with other notable scholars and scientists, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and former Governor and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, provide a glimpse into a new and emerging economy based upon renewable resources as well as strategies to avoid the growing threat of global warming.  This is an enlightening film that takes you around the world to reveal the effect of global warming on different countries, the world wide impact, and countries' reaction and plans to confront it.

Watch the 90 minute film on the internet

Climate Change: How do we know it's real and what can we do about it?

hayhoeKatharineHayhoe, a research associate professor at Texas Tech University and expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, gave a presentation on climate science to Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) members via conference call on March 9, 2010. REP members from across the U.S. participated in this call.

Download  a PDF of Katharine Hayhoe's March 9, 2010 presentation, a series of slides to follow as you listen to the presentation.

Listen to the MP3 audio recording of the March 9, 2010 conference call. The presentation begins approximately 2 minutes into the 1 hour and 23-minute recording.  The presentation is about 40 minutes followed by a Q and A for the remainder of the recording.

CO2 Reduction: What should the world aim for?

mn ghg emissions by sector 1995-2025 According to Bill McKibben, the first author to write a book on global warming, 350 is the most important number in the world. It represents 350 parts per million CO2 which is the atmospheric CO2 concentration to which the the earth's atmosphere must be reduced if life on earth is to avoid huge climate changes. At the present time, the earth's atmosphere is well past this with 394 ppm CO2.

To scientists' surprise, this 387 ppm CO2 is causing major changes in the earth's climate including rising sea levels, increasing acid in sea water, melting glaciers in the Himalayas, the Andes, and the Sierras, drought, floods and violent weather, and the spread of malaria and dengue fever.  As glaciers melt and disappear, the rivers they feed will dry up too, and millions of people will be without water.  According to a report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, an annual conference led by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General, global warming is causing more than 300,000 deaths and about $125 billion in economic losses each year.  Read the key findings of the U. S. Global Change Research Program. 

Biggest Increase Ever in Global Warming Pollution in 2010

co2 increase in 2010

The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, indicating weak efforts at slowing man-made global warming by the world's largest CO2 polluters.  Worldwide emissions of CO2 soared by 6%, about 564 million more tons, in 2010.  Extra pollution in China and the U.S. accounts for more than half the increase in emissions, according to Greg Marland, Professor of Geology at Appalachian State University.

At the time of the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, the United States and China accounted for 40 percent of world CO2 emissions. China is the world's biggest emitter of CO2 while the United States has the highest per capita emission of CO2. Neither country wants its own production to become more expensive. An article in Der Spiegel challenges the two countries to enter into competition for the best green technologies, the most efficient automobiles, and the strongest job growth in the environmental sector.

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Is It Too Late to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?

clive hamiltonClive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at the Australian National University spoke in October 2010 at a meeting of the Royal Society of the Arts on the catastrophic consequences of climate change if the earth reaches a tipping point that leads to runaway global warming that cannot be controlled.  Professor Hamilton's analysis in this 19 page paper that is taken from Chapter 1 of his forthcoming book, Requiem for a Species, is sobering and suggests an indeed grim future for coming generations if governments do not take action soon.  The middle of the paper has more technical details so if you are in a hurry, read pages 1 to 5 and from the last paragraph on page 16 to the end of the paper:

Is It Too Late to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?

Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?

james hansen arrested for protesting keystone xlJames Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, likewise argues that our leaders must  be shaken out of their complacency.  He believes that the problem of global warming is solvable, but only if all nations phase out coal emissions and prohibit emissions from unconventional fuels like tar sands and shale oil.  Read James's Hansen's article in the Guardian, Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?

President Obama must decide whether or not to grant a “presidential permit” for Canadian company TransCanada to begin construction of the Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.  Hansen has stated that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.  He stated that it would be essentially game over.  The photo above shows Hansen's recent arrest for protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House.

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

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