On April 23, 2008, Heal Our Planet Earth (www.HOPE-CARE.org) founder
Anthony Marr made an unprecedented announcement on the World Wide Web
that: “RUNAWAY GLOBAL HEATING HAS BEGUN!”
Within 24 hours, he was branded an “alarmist” by an internet-prowling
professional global-warming-denier, and a “heretic” by an adherent to
ultra-conservative global warming projections. Marr accepted both honors
with a sad smile and a proud bow.
On April 25, in an interview of Anthony Marr by Animal Voices on CFRO
radio in Vancouver, the following conversation (edited and paraphrased)
Animal Voices: I know you’re known as an animal rights activist, but
an alarmist and a heretic?
Anthony Marr: There is a 4-alarm fire brewing, and somebody has to
sound the first alarm. Back in 2004, scientists predicted a drying trend
for the Amazon rainforest due to global warming, and were promptly
branded ‘alarmist’. The devastating 2005-2007 drought exonerated them
and temporarily silenced the professional global warming deniers. As for
being a “heretic”, all I can say is that I’m glad they don’t burnt
people at the stake any more.
AV: Why do you refer to the “global warming deniers” as
AM: Because some global warming deniers are paid megabucks to open
their mouths for Big Oil to put greasy words into them, then spit the
very same words out in public. The entire denial counter-movement is by
and large funded by Big Oil.
AV: So what do you do with them? Debate them point by point?
AM: No point in that. Let them say whatever they are paid in diamonds
to say. I am paid to say what I say in hearts, the hearts being my love
for our children, for the pinnacles of civilization we have achieved,
for the millions of species in life on Earth, and for the life of Earth
itself. I'm not paid a cent for saying it.
AV: And why do people who subscribe to global warming call you a
AM: In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published
its 4th Assessment Report based on information available up to 2005, in
which it presented 5 major climate change scenarios spanning 1880, when
the Industrial Age began, and 2100. The worst case scenario, dubbed A1F1
– “business-as-usual” - projects a global temperature rise of 6oC/10oF
maximum, 6oC/10oF being generally accepted as the threshold of an 85%
species extinction rate in the current 6th Mass Extinction. However, the
Arctic sea-ice melt rate as of 2005, and in especially in 2007, turned
out worse than IPCC’s worst-case scenario by 300%. Those who adhere to
some of the less-bad-case scenarios would consider even the 2005-2007
data themselves heretical. And what I announced is even worse than what
the 2005-2007 data themselves project. So, I fit very snugly into their
AV: You call this the 6th Mass Extinction. So, there were 5 mass
extinctions that happened before? I know only one – the one that wiped
out the dinosaurs.
AM: Yes. That was the 5th, the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction 64
million years ago. But this 5th mass extinction was the only one not
caused by climate change. The 3rd, the End-Permian Mass Extinction 251
million years ago, which was indeed caused by climate change, wiped out
75% of all land species and 95% of all marine species including all
corals which took 10 million years afterward to re-evolve. So, it’s not
theory. It’s happened before under similar circumstances, and it is
repeatable. It is happening now.
AV: When did this 6th mass extinction begin?
AM: I’d say about 14,000 years ago, when the North American Megafauna
– woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, giant cave bear, giant ground sloth,
saber-tooth cat, wild horse… almost simultaneously went extinct. 14,000
years ago was also when the last ice-age was about to end accompanied by
global warming, as well as when human beings began to colonize North
America. Since then, the extinction rate has been higher than the
background extinction rate in geologically more stable eras. But it was
not until 1880, when the Industrial Age began, that the extinction rate
AV: What is the extinction rate today?
AM: About 100 species a day. I should say about 100 known species,
and an unknown number of unknown species, a day.
AV: How many species are there altogether?
AM: Estimates run from 2 million species to over 40 million species.
I’d take the mean of about 20 million species.
AV: According to your “heretical” scenario, how many species would
AM: 100 percent, with the possible exception of the few species of
anaerobic bacteria that live on the ocean floor near submarine volcanic
AV: That is quite a claim.
AM: It is not a claim, but an inevitability with but one possible
AV: How did you arrive at this conclusion?
AM: A combination of two factors: 1, that today’s global average
temperature is less than 1 degree Celsius or 1.6 degree Fahrenheit
warmer than the global average temperature of 1880, and 2. that the
sub-Arctic permafrost is melting.
AV: Less than one degree and some ice melting up in the Arctic Circle
doesn’t sound all that threatening to me.
AM: It is exactly because it is less than one degree that makes it
that much more threatening.
AV: How so?
AM: Imagine how much more of the permafrost will melt when the
temperature-rise climbs to 2 degrees, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6…
AV: So what if the permafrost melts down altogether. It won’t raise
the sea level by more than a foot or two. So the humans and animals will
have to move some distance inland. But that is far from all 20 million
species going extinct.
AM: Sea level rise is a minor problem compared to the global
temperature rise, which will go through the roof.
AV: Why would the melting or even meltdown of permafrost have this
AM: Because of what is released into the atmosphere when the
permafrost melts. It is the most dangerous substance on Earth today bar
none, far more so than all the weapons on Earth combined - certainly
much more potent, but also much more inevitable than a global nuclear
AV: What can such a substance be?
AV: Methane? Being an animal advocate familiar with cattle farming, I
know that methane is released from the cattle themselves. I know it’s a
fuel, but I don’t see it burning the cows. So what’s so dangerous about
AM: Methane being a fuel, which produces carbon dioxide when burned,
is less damaging than methane itself as a greenhouse gas. As a
greenhouse gas, methane is 75 times more potent than CO2 in the short
run (within years of release) and 20 times more potent in the long term
(within decades). So, the more methane in the atmosphere, the worse
global warming gets.
AV: So, the permafrost contains methane?
AM: The permafrost is a giant reservoir of methane held in frozen
peat or in the solid form of methane clathrate or methane hydrate. When
the permafrost melts, free gaseous methane is released into the
AV: What quantity are we talking about?
AM: From surface to 100 meters (330 feet) depth, there is an
estimated 500 billion tons. From surface to 300 meters (990 feet) depth,
over 1,000 billion tons, or 1 trillion tons.
AV: These are huge numbers, which I’m having trouble grasping. Could
you put it in such a way that can help me understand this?
AM: Well, before 1880, the atmospheric carbon concentration was about
250 parts per million (ppm). This translates to a total carbon content
of about 450 billion tons. Now, the concentration has risen up to 385
ppm or a total of about 700 billion tons. So, as you can see, if the
permafrost melts totally, it will add 1 trillion tons of CO2 equivalent
in methane into the atmosphere, more than doubling the amount of
greenhouse gasses. The carbon total will rise to 1700 billion tons, and
the concentration will rise to 935 ppm. This alone will mean the end of
the world as we know it, and we haven’t even talked about the melting of
the oceanic methane clathrate deposits, which totals about 10 trillion
tons. If all oceanic methane clathrate deposits are melted, that would
turn the Earth into another Venus.
AV: But how much of the permafrost will it really melt? Surely not
the whole thing.
AM: Surely, the whole thing.
AM: Without even considering the methane release, just the extant
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere alone will drive the global temperature
up by 6oC/10oF come 2100, especially considering that the recent Arctic
sea-ice melt has already exceeded the IPCC worst case scenario of Arctic
melting by 300% this early in the game. If the less than 1 degree rise
today can start melting the permafrost, what would +2, +3, +4, +5 and +6
degrees do? These are inevitable numbers within the next century. We
don’t really need the methane feedback-loop to bring about a total
permafrost meltdown, releasing all 1 trillion tons of CO2-equivalent in
methane into the atmosphere. This alone will drive the global
temperature up by 10oC/16oF no problem. Do you want me to go further?
AV: Further meaning even worse?
AM: Yes. I’m now factoring in the methane feedback loop. With this in
play, the speed of the heating will increase exponentially, and the
temperature will rise even higher due to the extra methane. By then the
oceans will have warmed to the point where the oceanic methane clathrate
will have started melting. And there is nothing in nature that can stop
it. The only natural way it will end is after all the methane have been
released, by which time the atmospheric carbon concentration will have
risen to over 10 trillion tons, compared to today’s 700 billion tons.
The carbon concentration will have risen from today’s 385 ppm to a
staggering 5500 ppm, when scientists have set the maximum at 450 ppm.
The result of a total methane blow out will be global baking up to
hundreds of degrees.
AV: So, let me make this clear for myself. You are saying that the
permafrost has started melting, and that is the beginning of the end?
AM: Nicely put.
AV: So, we are doomed?
AM: If we carry on the way we have been carrying on, absolutely.
AV: But what is there to stop the runaway global heating from
spiraling out of control?
AM: Nothing in nature can do it. And there is only one thing that
humans may be able do that might be able to slow it down, or stop it, or
even reverse it.
AV: Don’t leave me suspended too long.
AM: Well, I’ll start off by mentioning what won’t work. The first
thing to realize is that nature won’t, can’t, do a thing about it. If we
push her off her limits, she will let whatever consequences, include
100% extinction, run its course. Corn/soy/cane/palm-derived ethanol
won’t do it, since it still releases CO2. On the contrary, it will
aggravate global warming by directly destroying thousands of square
miles of tropical rainforest every year to accommodate ever expanding
soy plantations, thereby also directly causing the extinction of
hundreds of thousands of endemic species as the ravage spreads.
Conservation is important, but by itself won’t do it. Even if we have
cars running on 300 miles per gallon, the amount of CO2 in the
atmosphere will still increase, and the temperature will still rise.
Even if we stop burning fossil fuel altogether, the temperature will
still keep on rising, albeit at a slower rate. Clean energy – solar,
wind, geothermal, wave and tidal – these are of utmost importance for
long term sustainability, and can help reduce CO2 emission, and can even
eventually reduce the emission to zero, but they cannot reduce the
atmospheric carbon content and concentration, and they certainly cannot
stop the methane release, and therefore cannot stop, much less reverse,
runaway global heating. The only technology that can deal with runaway
global heating is Carbon Sequestration and Storage (CSS) otherwise known
as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which by definition pulls carbon out
of the atmosphere and actually reduces the carbon content and
concentration. We are not talking about small auxiliary CSS/CCS units
attached to coal-fire plants. We are talking about large-scale
free-standing CSS/CCS systems actively gobbling up carbon by the ton out
of the atmosphere every day – on a global scale.
AV: This sounds expensive.
AM: Hundreds of billions of dollars, no doubt. The Stern Commission
estimates that 1-3% of the world’s total GDP is needed to fully mitigate
global warming. 1% of the global GDP equals about $635 billion/year.
World experts think that $120 billion per year is a good place to start,
to just slow things down a little to buy us some time.
AV: So where does this money come from?
AM: Again, I will first say where it will NOT come from: industry and
government, because there is little or no profit potential in it. There
is no product from the process that can be marketed, other than
algae-based “Soylent Green” perhaps. Street level investors won’t be
interested in it. Corporations won’t touch it. Governments are already
maxed out with their economic woes and expensive social programs and
mountainous military expenditures. So, it will have to be a non-profit
and altruistic endeavor.
AV: Where in the world can we find hundreds of billions of dollars
floating around not already working to maximum capacity, for a
non-profit program? Are you suggesting that the super-rich should shell
out for the good of all?
AM: I won’t hold my breath on that. What we need is to extract it
from somewhere already with the money, but where the money could be
AM: If we look at all options, we would likely all gravitate toward
the same conclusion. The global military expenditure stands a towering
$1.2 trillion a year or more. 10% of $1.2 trillion equals $120 billion.
AV: Seems like a marriage made in heaven.
AM: I have started a global petition addressed to the United Nations
Secretary General titled “To the UN Secretary General for the $120
billion/yr Global Green Fund for combating global warming and saving
Earth”. If I read the letter out here, it will answer your question
AV: Yes, please do.
AM: It says:
Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,
On April 9, 2008, the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
was featured in a newspaper article titled “Oceans warming 4 times
faster than predicted”, which concluded with: “money must be spent on
protecting international waters,” and we would add, “and the atmosphere,
the Arctic and Antarctic, the Amazon rainforest, the Boreal forest,
African wildlife, biodiversity, in fact, the entire biosphere itself”.
World experts have determined that a Global Green Fund for healing
our planet Earth of $120 billion per annum is the bare bone minimum.
Almost shockingly, in this hour of critical planetary need, such a
Global Green Fund DOES NOT EVEN EXIST. In contrast, the Global Military
Expenditure towers $1.2 trillion per annum, and to what good end?
A mere 10% of it would make the $120 billion Global Green Fund.
As a nature-revering, peace-loving and deeply concerned planetary
citizen, in view of the current global environmental crisis in climate
change, habitat destruction and species extermination, I am writing to
participate with other planetary citizens worldwide in presenting the
As overseen by the United Nations, all member nations shall
contribute ten percent (10%) of their military budgets, totaling $120
billion per annum approximately, to a U.N.-administered Global Green
Fund dedicated to solving the environmental problems of the planet
Nations may contribute by means of environmental work performed by
their military forces (e.g. by using the army for anti-poaching and
habitat protection, and the navy for enforcing international laws on the
high seas) in lieu of financial contributions.
By this method, there will be no relative loss of military strength
for any nation, the world will be 10% safer, and Planet Earth will be
100% greener, and our children's future will be infinitely brighter.
Where the United Nations is concerned, it will finally have a real
budget with the real means to heal our planet Earth.
We ask you to please use your influence to facilitate the creation of
this Global Green Fund, for saving life on Earth from mass extinction
due to global warming and habitat destruction.
Thank you for your attention.”
Does this answer your question?
AV: Yes, it does. So, how many signatures are you aiming for?
AM: I million worldwide.
AV: How’s it going?
AM: It is only a few days old, and is still taxiing on the runway,
but it has already received signatures and comments from over a dozen
countries so far. We’re in process of networking with environmental and
animal advocacy groups, educational systems, churches and parenting
groups on a global basis. We’re also asking signatories to pass it on.
So, it should slowly gather momentum until it takes off.
AV: How does people go and sign the petition?
AM: Go to www.ThePetitionSite.com and look for the petition there.
(If you’re online, go to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/to-un-secretary-general-for-creating-the-
AV: Other than this, what else are you doing to fight global warming?
AM: Heal Our Planet Earth has started a major campaign titled the
Global Emergency Operation or GEO, which has four quadrants: the Global
Green Fund, the Time-Capsule-of-HOPE-2060, the
Shut-Down-the-Alberta-Tar-Sands Campaign, and the Compassion for Animals
Road Expedition #6 (CARE-6)…
For more information on these campaigns, please see www.HOPE-CARE.org.
Or contact Anthony Marr for more info.
Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)