What all candidates are shunning like the plague
confirmed by MIT findings

CNN, November 1, 2008 – Sarah Palin is inciting her crowd in Florida to chant “DRILL BABY DRILL!”, and the crowd did so as if there is no tomorrow. This to me is more frightening than “Dracula”, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, which scared me silly while I was a choir boy back in Hong Kong, even with the protective crucifix on a chain around my neck. Eventually, I dropped out from the Church upon seeing the greater horrors of the Inquisition, but that was another story.

Meanwhile, in 1999, I founded Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE –, and in April 2008, as leader of HOPE’s Global Emergency Operation (HOPE-GEO), I wrote that “RUNAWAY GLOBAL HEATING HAS BEGUN”.

In July 2008, RUNAWAY GLOBAL HEATING HAS BEGUN became Chapter 4 of my new book “Homo Sapiens! SAVE YOUR EARTH” (co-authored with Dr. Peter Carter and Taina Ketola – see What we did not know was – in which year the runaway began.

Now we know – 2007. Witness the following Vancouver Sun article:

November 1, 2008
Methane levels on the rise
The amount of methane in Earth’s atmosphere shot up in 2007, bringing to an end a period of about a decade in which atmospheric levels of the potent greenhouse gas were essentially stable, according to a team led by MIT researchers. Methane levels in the atmosphere have more than doubled since pre-industrial times, accounting for around one-fifth of the human contribution to greenhouse gas-driven global warming. Until recently, the leveling off of methane levels had suggested that the rate if its emission from Earth’s surface was approximately balanced by the rate of its destruction in the atmosphere. However, since early 2007 the balance has been upset, according to a paper on the new findings being published this week in Geophysical Review Letters. This imbalance has resulted in several million metric tons of additional methane in the atmosphere. Methane is produced by wetlands, rice paddies, cattle and the gas and coal industries, and is destroyed by reaction with the hydroxyl free radical (OH), often referred to as the atmosphere’s “cleanser”.

The meat industry deserves an extra mention as a source of gaseous methane (CH4), a much more potent (by 20-70x) but shorter-lived (half-life of CH4 in atmosphere about a decade) greenhouse gas than CO2. It emits more CO2-equivalent in methane than the global transportation industry by some 20%. It is said that a meat-eater riding a bicycle emits more greenhouse gasses than a vegan driving a Hummer. Thus, environmentalism condemns the meat industry as a driver of global warming (other than the pollution, Amazon rainforest destruction and protein production inefficiency), and animal rights condemns the meat industry for the million of species global warming could terminate (other than the cruelty and immorality), and together, they condemn the meat industry, period.

The greatest source of methane by far, however, is not even mentioned in the article – the methane currently locked up in the permafrost (over 1 trillion tons of CO2-equivalent-in-methane, compared to the 700 tons of carbon in the atmosphere today) and submarine methane hydrate/clathrate deposits (over 10 trillion tons of CO2-eq.-in-methane).

2007 is significant because it is the year in which the Arctic-sea-ice tipping point tipped, when the melting rate tripled that of the worst-case scenario predicted in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report upon which national governments base their environmental and energy policies, in which “hydrate” or “clathrate” was not even mentioned. Little wonder the gross underestimations. The 2007 meltdown reduced the summer Arctic sea ice extent by about half the size of the lower-48-states from 2005, leaving the Siberia coastline ice-free. While the old estimate had it that the Arctic would be 50% ice-free by 2050, now the new estimate is that the Arctic will be 100% ice-free by the summer of 2013. Less ice and more water means more solar heat absorbed than reflected, i.e. the beginning of the Albedo-feedback-loop. When a feedback loop starts, the tipping point is tipped.

And now, the methane feedback loop – the more methane in the atmosphere, the more the atmosphere warms, the more permafrost and hydrates melt, the more methane is released… – has started. And evidently, the methane emission rate has overwhelmed the methane break-down rate, resulting in a net increase of the methane concentration. So, I repeat, RUNAWAY GLOBAL HEATING HAS BEGUN.

Siberia is important in this context, because, as mentioned, its coastline is now ice-free in Arctic summers, and its water is warming faster than before, which warms up its atmosphere in return. While the Siberian offshore methane hydrate deposits were previously covered by ice, now it is covered by the much warmer ocean water. The result is that the land-based permafrost and the submarine hydrate deposits are both melting, and melting faster than before.

In are photos of “drunken trees” in the Siberian forests, whose underlying permafrost is melting or has melted off, as well as toppled houses built on the previous permafrost. Here are two videos, one showing the methane blow-torches in the Siberian permafrost ( and the other showing the degassing of submarine methane hydrate deposits (

In climate change, global-warming by CO2 is only the fuse, which releases the methane. The bomb is RUNAWAY GLOBAL HEATING BY METHANE, a time-bomb inestimably more devastating than all the nuclear bombs detonated simultaneously. Once the methane feedback loop starts, the clock starts.

Runaway global heating does not have to be irreversible, but the window of opportunity to act is measured in months (about 100, or 8 years, or 2 presidential terms). It can be controlled by controlling both CO2 and CH4 emissions, while developing non-combustion (solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave and perhaps even magnetic, but definitely not ethanol) and carbon-capture-&-sequestration (CCS) technologies. But in order for us to start acting, we have to first understand the situation and start worrying. I have deplored the “Don’t worry, be happy” mentality since its heydays, now I will quote the opposite. “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s