Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Stephen Hawking Says Earth Will Become ‘Sizzling Ball of Fire’ in 600 Years

Popular

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.

As for this planet, Hawking was not so hopeful. Hawking warned that "soaring population sizes and increasing demands for energy" would lead to Earth's eventual demise, according to the Daily Mail.

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

Hurricane Florence on Sept. 12, 2018. ESA / A.Gerst / CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2020 hurricane season is now expected to be the most active since at least the early 1980s, meteorologists at Colorado State University, a standard bearer for seasonal hurricane predictions, announced Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Qamutik cargo ship on July 28, 2020 in Canada's Nunavut province, where two ice caps have disappeared completely. Fiona Paton / Flickr

Three years ago, scientists predicted it would happen. Now, new NASA satellite imagery confirms it's true: two ice caps in Canada's Nunavut province have disappeared completely, providing more visual evidence of the rapid warming happening near the poles, as CTV News in Canada reported.

Read More Show Less
The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. European Environmental Agency / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Katell Ané

The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. It is the newest strategy under the European Green Deal, setting sustainability targets for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.

Read More Show Less
President Trump signs an executive order regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday for violating their policies against spreading false information about COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute staff and volunteers try to help a stranded bottlenose dolphin in Cockroach Bay near Ruskin, Florida on Sept. 17, 2015. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of plastics and new forms of synthetic chemicals in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
Smoke rises above wrecked buildings following a deadly explosion on Aug. 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Marwan Tahtah / Getty Images

By Alexander Freund

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says he believes Tuesday's explosion in Beirut could have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored in the port.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Black Americans are dying from Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, and at younger ages, partly due to poor diets that make bodies less resistant to the coronavirus. Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

By Michelle D. Holmes

Most Americans know about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans primarily through their colorful representations: the original food pyramid, which a few years ago morphed into MyPlate. The guidelines represent the government mothering us to choose the healthiest vegetables, grains, sources of protein, and desserts, and to eat them in the healthiest portions.

As innocuous as the food pyramid and MyPlate seem, they are actually a matter of life and death.

Read More Show Less