Scientist: Human Race May Die Out Within 100 Years

Scary stuff, reported in New Scientist:

To say Frank Fenner is no fool is without doubt an understatement. He is an accomplished scientist, and that rarity in modern science, a polymath. As a virologist he helped lead the eradication of smallpox, while as a human ecologist he set up the respected Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University.

So how worried should we be that Fenner told an Australian newspaper that humanity will be extinct within a century because of our failure to deal with global warming?

All is not necessarily lost, at least according to Stephen Boyden, Fenner’s colleague at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU, who told the same paper there is still time to prevent our extinction. The problem, he says, is to do it we will need to pull off “revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability”. Still hardly an optimistic view.

And it’s not just Fenner and Boyden who are gloomy about the future of our species.

More and more people who study the prospects for human well-being in coming decades agree that food will be the key limiting factor. Demand will skyrocket, fuelled, as Fenner says, by both population growth and “unbridled consumption”. Meanwhile climate change will make it harder to produce more food.

As New Scientist readers know, scientists agree the drivers of climate change are already in place. They disagree only over the extent of the impacts. Fenner used the word “extinction”, perhaps knowing that doing so would attract attention. Indeed it did. Others say social and economic collapse with some human die-off. Few go as far as extinction…

[continues in New Scientist]

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  • Hmm…

    I don't see it happening. Humans are known for adaptability, and more importantly, defiance.

    We do things simply because we're told not to. We're both logical and illogical, and it makes us resilient and tough. While I do think bad things are coming, the end of the world has been preached as being around the corner for two thousand years and hasn't happened yet.

    • http://www.thecarnivalnoir.com Haystack

      …but rationality and long-term thinking, not so much. Those may be the traits we need to survive in a world where we can affect the environment on a global scale. The people of Easter Island nearly wiped themselves out by destroying their ecosystem–Earth is just a larger island.

  • Belcat

    I have to agree with the previous comment. I can't see us dying from the world getting warmer, or the sea levels rising, or even more hurricanes. Yeah, things will go downhill, maybe we'll get a “Dark Ages” type era, where lots of knowledge will be lost, but to say we're going to extinct because of Global Warming is quite the fetch.
    Now, lots of people don't know how to farm, so if there is food shortages, those people will die. But to say nobody is going to manage anywhere in the world to survive? Doubtful.

  • emperorreagan

    I have my fingers crossed for a zombie apocalypse. Famine and global warming better not kill my buzz.

  • GlobalHypocracy

    yeah a microbiologist sure would be the best climate “expert” he doesnt even present an arguement about global warming in any of his reports or materials. who pays this guy? the fvckin U.N.? haha! and to the disinfo editors: ive said this many times, you guys put anything up here that “confirms” your beliefs about global warming, but refuse to post the other side of the arguement. ive said this like 10 times. come on.

    • JJ James

      dude, if you haven't seen the ridiculous number of anti-warming propaganda articles here, you haven't been reading the fucking thing. If you've really “said this like 10 times” then you're ten times the idiot you would be if you'd only said it once. It looks like you didn't read this article either because it said in the second paragraph that this scientist is at the JOHN CURTIN SCHOOL OF MEDICAL RESEARCH– and if you don't know what that is, don't tell me, go find out first. Jesus Christ man, just read the goddamn information before you start flapping your uninformed face. You are one of the reasons we should go extinct.

    • JJ James

      Also– do you not understand that “human ecologist” means he is someone who has studied the environment in which humans are able to survive? Did you notice that he created an organisation called the 'Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies' at the Australian National University? Of course not, you didn't even see those words because you didn't READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE.

    • Tuna Ghost

      It's funny, because I'VE said once or twice that the idea of a balanced view on any given subject does not have to include the idiot fringe minority that is spouting bullshit.

  • RONIN

    The current genus of human has only been around for about 200,000 years and every other version of us has gone extinct. Compare that to creatures like sharks and crocodiles which have been around for hundreds of millions of years in one form or another. I think our survivability has inly begun to be tested. The extinction of human beings would certainly not have to be “the end of the world.” The permian extinction would've probably killed us off were we around at the time, but life was able to bounce back. I just don't find the idea of us going extinct in a century to be probable, but it's certainly possible.

    Personally, I think humans are a shit animal and, if we're to go extinct, I say good riddance.

    • ernerzung

      if you think we're a shit animal, why do you clothe and feed yourself everyday? You could save those resources for people who actually like their speicies. just a thought

      • http://www.myspace.com/santosramos Fabian_Ramos

        whoa. haha

      • RONIN

        Not at all, good sir. See, I like myself. I just don't like the average of human being. How convenient, huh? I have no interest in saving resources for the benefit of anyone else.

        However, if I did, why would I want to save them for someone who liked this species. I'd think I'd much rather want those who don't like it to be fed and clothed so that, perhaps, they can go on to shape it into something respectable.

      • Tristan H.

        All humans do is lie, cheat, and steal. We are complete shit. We just take, take, and take. We steal everything from other animals, and we are sucking the earth dry.

        • Navysealteam7

          lol, Tristan and Ronin and sado-machochists. They’ll probably commit suicide before global starvation has a chance to hit them

    • Cerebralcaustic

      >Personally, I think humans are a shit animal and, if we're to go extinct, I say good riddance.

      Until you kill yourself or someone else, you're a poser. You're spouting the typical bullshit talk of an over-educated leftist and/or a severely depressed mind.

      • RONIN

        “Until you kill yourself or someone else, you're a poser.”

        I just learned something new about suicide bombers. They sure ain't no posers.

        Yeah, but I'm far from an over-educated leftist. A severely depressed mind sound more accurate.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        Don't forget to include yourself (high on the list) of shit animals.

        Your caustic cerebrum has etched out a fine toilet for your shit thoughts……..

        In your case, the toilet doubles as a feeding trough……..enjoy your turds!!

        • Rockingcherokee

          Strange you should mention that, you may be aware that Japanese scientists have found a way to make “steak” out of human excrement. I believe they call it the turdburger. Could this be the answer to staving off global starvation? Think of all the crap that flows out of Washington D.C. Alone! So ,we not only eat where we crap, but what we crap? Interesting concept.

    • xOuTGuNx

      “Personally, I think humans are a shit animals, if we’re to go extinct, I say good riddance.” I agree with you all the way.

  • Word Eater

    Maybe 500 years, but 100? Really?

    We can add decades to our survivability just be eating our own dead and getting over the “yuck” factor of eating insects.

    Yeah we might not be able to go to Wal-mart any more after the economic collapse that follows the agricultural collapse, but “extinct” in a century is a big of a long shot.

    We could probably last 100 years after a super volcano or moderate asteroid impact. Global [b]climate change[/b] (I ain't calling it Global Warming) is a real and present danger and humanity is doing the equivalent of shitting in our own bathwater.

    But, if the temperature does rise, plants are going to do awesome and we can eat plants.

    • tonyviner

      You never watched Fear Factor, huh? If people will not eat gross things for money, what makes you think that they will do it to survive?

  • tonyviner

    I hope it does happen, I only regret that I most likely won't be around to see it.

  • oman28

    Extinct ? I don't think so but I do feel that there's a bit of a 'cull' on the way.
    And food shortages – won't Monsanto care for us in that regard?

    • Cerebralcaustic

      >I do feel that there's a bit of a 'cull' on the way.

      Where do you feel this? In your throat? In your earlobe?

      • Andrew

        The Market culls poor people all the time.

  • Eric

    Neo-malthusian/Resource Depletionist Discourse to justify Population Control by way of shutting off Human Reproduction….I enjoy FUD cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rosey-Roenfanz/1109603097 Rosey Roenfanz

    we will have to adapt to other foods. part of the problem is going to be, how much will we be able to grow ourselves? the “corporate” government is starting to limit the crops we can grow, and developing more “terminator” seeds. and most of our “in-store” food comes from maybe a thousand miles away. we also find out about bad crops after people are dying. creeping contamination from chemical spills? the latest gulf spill may be affecting our food for years. many critters will eat the gulf dead and carry that inland. tis a long complicated chain.

  • Cerebralcaustic

    More alarmist, speculative bullshit … in 100 years, no one who heard this prediction will be around to call shenanigans if he's wrong.

    This prediction is little different to me than Christians who claim that Jesus is due to return *any time now* … not today, of course, but he'll be back soon enough … and each generation forgets the failed predictions of the previous generation.

    • Tuna Ghost

      It's different because it's based on scientific reasoning and evidence, and because the vast majority of scientists are agreeing on climate change being dangerous (the extent of that danger is still in question, apparently). It's not true that every generation forgets the failed predictions of the previous, btw. It is also worth noting that several predictions in regard to technology and its effect on humanity, predictions based on scientific evidence and extrapolating from current trends, have indeed come to pass.

      Is the use of the word “extincting” maybe a tad alarmist? Yeah, maybe.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Homo sapiens has made comebacks after bottlenecks quite a few times in the last several hundred thousand years. I'm not convinced that even we can fuck this place up enough to make it completely unsurvivable (unless we start slinging nukes in every direction.)

    Will things get really uncomfortable? Sure. Potential for massive loss of life? Sure. But Total Extinction??? Not so much. I'm think more of a Dark Ages and social upheaval combined with rampant hunger and absent health care. Horrible…but not the route to going the way of the dinosaur.

  • http://www.thecarnivalnoir.com Haystack

    I wouldn't balk at this. There's no scientific consensus on how severe the effects of climate change will be and how well we'll be able to adjust to them. The truth is, we don't know, and there's always a possibility that it could turn out to be much worse than we expect. History is full of examples of civilizations that were busy deluded themselves right up till the moment of their collapse. Humans don't have a good track record of setting aside their short-term interests and confronting long-range threats, especially when we can convince ourselves that they're not real.

    Nuclear weapons alone have almost brought the human race to extinction during living memory. The Cuban Missile Crisis and a plethora lesser-known incidents which might have triggered an accidental exchange serve as examples. Those weapons are still around, and who knows what the future will hold?

    And what newer, scarier technologies will be developed in the next 100 years? There are already hobbyists experimenting with genetic engineering in their apartments. Nuclear weapons have so far only been available to governments, but what would happen if the technology to engineer new virii or to destroy ecosystems became available to, small, modestly funded groups, or even individuals?

    The crux of the matter is that once you have the technology to affect your environment on a global scale, you open the possibility of global devastation. As we advance, there are going to be more and more ways for that to happen, and we only need to fuck up once for the curtain to fall. I'm not saying that that's going to happen, but we shouldn't be complacent about it, either. Species go extinct all the time, and we're just one more.

  • Wisemanintheclouds

    Yes, it is possible. Humanity does not deserve this though. If you look at the current leadership all around the globe you will find that there are symptoms of insanity everywhere. Our leaders are driven by individuals and corporations that never appear in the limelight as powers in control.
    These corporations remind me more and more of the description Christianity gave of Demons. (Hey, I am playing around with models here. I am not a fundamentalist, not even a Christian.)
    These corporations promise to give us everything, but there is a prize to pay. These corporations also do not have a tangible “soul”. They are runaway entities we thought we could control. Debt will enslave you, and besides that the world might just be destroyed as the article said.
    The majority of the people just want to love and bring up their children and live in peace. This is true for people in the middle east as well as in every other country in this world.
    There is no reason for fear.
    In comparison it is only a handful of nuts, elected or not elected that are causing this disaster.
    These nuts and soulless entities need to be curtailed. Not with violence either. Otherwise we go from one mess into the other again.
    Only talking with other people who agree will not do much good either.
    People power will have to come into this.
    I do not have a proper way to start this either, but the internet is a very powerful tool. The majority might just come up with something to stop these morons.
    Let's hold on to this world a little bit longer!

  • Wisemanintheclouds

    Yes, it is possible. Humanity does not deserve this though. If you look at the current leadership all around the globe you will find that there are symptoms of insanity everywhere. Our leaders are driven by individuals and corporations that never appear in the limelight as powers in control.
    These corporations remind me more and more of the description Christianity gave of Demons. (Hey, I am playing around with models here. I am not a fundamentalist, not even a Christian.)
    These corporations promise to give us everything, but there is a prize to pay. These corporations also do not have a tangible “soul”. They are runaway entities we thought we could control. Debt will enslave you, and besides that the world might just be destroyed as the article said.
    The majority of the people just want to love and bring up their children and live in peace. This is true for people in the middle east as well as in every other country in this world.
    There is no reason for fear.
    In comparison it is only a handful of nuts, elected or not elected that are causing this disaster.
    These nuts and soulless entities need to be curtailed. Not with violence either. Otherwise we go from one mess into the other again.
    Only talking with other people who agree will not do much good either.
    People power will have to come into this.
    I do not have a proper way to start this either, but the internet is a very powerful tool. The majority might just come up with something to stop these morons.
    Let's hold on to this world a little bit longer!

  • kmuzu

    There is no doubt there is global climate change. What is in doubt are the affects of global climate change. Scientist are relying upon the data from the last time there was massive carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. The result were not promising. However that does not mean it will happen this time.

  • DeepCough

    Dead in century? Not fast enough.

  • Andrew

    It’s not warming that will get us, it’ll be all the poisons we’re pumping into our food, water, and air.

  • Andrew

    It's not warming that will get us, it'll be all the poisons we're pumping into our food, water, and air.

  • xOuTGuNx

    “Personally, I think humans are a shit animals, if we’re to go extinct, I say good riddance.” I agree with you all the way.

  • Tristan H.

    All humans do is lie, cheat, and steal. We are complete shit. We just take, take, and take. We steal everything from other animals, and we are sucking the earth dry.

  • http://profiles.google.com/deadauther dipankar singh

    i think most the humans are non thinkers, no one had logics, creativity is far gone. bounded by unsorted activities, no interest in understanding true nature and life. i m ammazed by this idea how we r distracted to know whats what . we never thought why money was created or can this be erradicated from our life so the status, and create new methods of living were evolved and are we alone in nature if not then where are we in this whole damn iniverse (cosmic life) if natures too complex will be able to understand its deep coplexities. one day it all has to end no matter when , applicating mind is too hard to utilize and sort of every one uses brain powers for selfish reasons. first we need unity not piecies we are all one and need humans in one dignity not parted in this globe under different countries and currencies so much social issues to correct or wait next you to be dead.

  • http://profiles.google.com/deadauther dipankar singh

    i think most the humans are non thinkers, no one had logics, creativity is far gone. bounded by unsorted activities, no interest in understanding true nature and life. i m ammazed by this idea how we r distracted to know whats what . we never thought why money was created or can this be erradicated from our life so the status, and create new methods of living were evolved and are we alone in nature if not then where are we in this whole damn iniverse (cosmic life) if natures too complex will be able to understand its deep coplexities. one day it all has to end no matter when , applicating mind is too hard to utilize and sort of every one uses brain powers for selfish reasons. first we need unity not piecies we are all one and need humans in one dignity not parted in this globe under different countries and currencies so much social issues to correct or wait next you to be dead.

  • Navysealteam7

    lol, Tristan and Ronin and sado-machochists. They’ll probably commit suicide before global starvation has a chance to hit them

  • Anonymous

    Fenner is wrong, global temperatures have in fact decreased throughout the last ten years.

  • mothman777

    Fenner is wrong, global temperatures have in fact decreased throughout the last ten years.

  • tooCents

    Well people are going to go extinct if not in 100 maybe 200 or 500 or 1,000…. can you actually imagine there being people say 1,000 yrs from now? I can. They’ll be living like people were 10,000 yrs ago or during the Middle Ages or maybe in small tribes, amongst the ruins. Nothin’ lasts forever. This century is going to be FUBAR I wager. 

  • Anonymous

    Well people are going to go extinct if not in 100 maybe 200 or 500 or 1,000…. can you actually imagine there being people say 1,000 yrs from now? I can. They’ll be living like people were 10,000 yrs ago or during the Middle Ages or maybe in small tribes, amongst the ruins. Nothin’ lasts forever. This century is going to be FUBAR I wager. 

  • Rockingcherokee

    Strange you should mention that, you may be aware that Japanese scientists have found a way to make “steak” out of human excrement. I believe they call it the turdburger. Could this be the answer to staving off global starvation? Think of all the crap that flows out of Washington D.C. Alone! So ,we not only eat where we crap, but what we crap? Interesting concept.

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