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Stephen Hawking Says Earth Will Become ‘Sizzling Ball of Fire’ in 600 Years
By Phineas Rueckert
Last year, scientist Stephen Hawking gave humans a shelf-life of 1,000 more years on Earth.
Apparently, 2017 hasn't been to his liking—as Hawking shaved another 400 years off that prediction.
The world-renowned scientist said Tuesday that he believes humans will only last another 600 years before Earth becomes a "sizzling ball of fire" that marks the end of humanity, The Sun reported.
Hawking's comments came as part of the Tencent WE Summit in Beijing. The scientist, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and speaks with a speech-generating device, dialed into the conference with a video call urging humans to instead look toward colonizing a neighboring star system called Alpha Centauri, according to Metro UK.
So, how does he want humans do this?
Hawking believes something called the "Breakthrough Starshot" project may offer a way to find life beyond Earth. The project aims to reach the nearest star system to our own, Alpha Centauri, where last August scientists discovered a "potentially habitable Earth-like planet," by sending out ultralight nanobeams that would reach Alpha Centauri in a couple of decades.
"Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years," Hawking said Tuesday.
"Maybe if all goes well, sometime a little after the middle of the century, we'll have our first picture of another planet that may be life-bearing orbiting the nearest star," he added.
The relationship between population growth and climate change is clear. Rapidly industrializing countries like India and China are expected to contribute half of all CO2 emissions by 2050, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
Global Citizen advocates for countries to adopt the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal number 13: climate action. You can take action here.
"If we cannot stabilize climate and we cannot stabilize population, there is not an ecosystem on Earth that we can save," the nonprofit Worldwatch Institute told Scientific American.
Hawking has been critical of U.S. climate change policy under President Donald Trump. The U.S. will soon be the only country to not sign the Paris agreement, which aims to put a cap on global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
"Trump's action could push the earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid," Hawking said in an interview with BBC this past July.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ketura Persellin
Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.