London: An Australian scientist, who
helped eradicate smallpox from the world, has created a new
sensation by predicting that the human race will be extinct
within the next 100 years.
Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of
microbiology at the Australian National University, has
claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a
population explosion and "unbridled consumption".
"Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100
years," Fenner said. "A lot of other animals will, too."
"It`s an irreversible situation. I think it`s too
late. I try not to express that because people are trying to
do something, but they keep putting it off."
He said that since humans have entered an unofficial
scientific period known as the Anthropocene -- the time since
industrialisation -- we have had an effect on the planet that
rivals any ice age or comet impact, the Daily Mail reported.
Fenner also blames the onset of climate change for the
human race`s imminent demise.
He said: "Climate change is just at the very
beginning. But we`re seeing remarkable changes in the weather
"We`ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter
Island... The Aborigines showed that without science and the
production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could
survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years.
"But the world can`t. The human species is likely to
go the same way as many of the species that we`ve seen
Fenner, 95, has won awards for his work in helping
eradicate the variola virus that causes smallpox and has
written or co-written 22 books.
In 1980, he announced the eradication of the disease
to the World Health Assembly and it is still regarded as one
of the World Health Organisation`s greatest achievements.
However, Stephen Boyden, a colleague of Prof Fenner,
said that while there was deep pessimism among some
ecologists, others had a more optimistic view.
"Frank may well be right, but some of us still harbour
the hope that there will come about an awareness of the
situation and, as a result the revolutionary changes necessary
to achieve ecological sustainability," Boyden said.
Simon Ross, the vice-chairman of the Optimum
Population Trust, said: "Mankind is facing real challenges
including climate change, loss of bio-diversity and
unprecedented growth in population."
Prof Fenner`s chilling prediction echoes recent
comments by Prince Charles who last week warned of "monumental
problems" if the world`s population continues to grow at such
a rapid pace.
According to 2009 UN estimates, the current global
population is 6.8 billion which can exceed to seven billion by
the end of 2011.
Earlier, Prof Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University
had said that a "Doomsday" moment will take place in 2014 --
and will determine whether the 21st century is full of
violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous.
In 2006, another esteemed academic, Prof James
Lovelock, warned that the world`s population may sink as low
as 500 million over the next century due to global warming.
He claimed that any attempts to tackle climate change will not
be able to solve the problem, merely buy us time.