Thousands of Chinese make their way to one of Beijing's main train stations as they travel home ahead China's approaching Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, January 30, 2011. About 230 million Chinese are expected to take part in the world's biggest annual human migration ahead of the Spring Festival, China's most important holiday. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo
CANBERRA, Australia, June 18 (UPI) -- A respected Australian scientist says a population explosion and unbridled consumption will drive the human race to extinction in 100 years.
Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, direly predicted "homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years," Britain's Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
"It's an irreversible situation," Fenner told The Australian newspaper. "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."
Since the era of industrialization, Fenner said, humans have had an effect on the planet rivaling any ice age or comet impact.
Fenner, 95, says climate change will be the main factor in the demise of humanity.
"We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island," he says.
"Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we're seeing remarkable changes in the weather already."
A colleague of Fenner says such deep pessimism may be premature.
"Frank may well be right," retired Professor Stephen Boyden said, "but some of us believe there will come about an awareness of the situation (with the resulting) revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability."