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Stephen Hawking: about Climate Change, the future of the human race, and life on Earth.


In a rare interview with Wong Chun Wai ( http://www.wongchunwai.com/ ) , Group Chief Editor of The Star; Malaysia’s leading English daily, in Cambridge last month (February 2010), Stephen Hawking shares his view about climate change and the survival on earth (below interview is quoted from the Jakarta Post daily, March 5, 2010 http://www.thejakartapost.com/paper/2010-03-05 ) page 28:

Wong CW: What about climate change? What are your thoughts on that?
Stephen H: Climate change is happening at an ever increasing rate. While we are hoping to stabilize it, and maybe even reverse it, by reducing our CO2 emissions, the danger is that the climate change may pass a tipping point at which the temperature may trigger the release of large quantities of CO2 trapped at the bottom of the ocean, which will further increase the green house effect.

Wong CW: Lately the world seems to be pre-occupied with how it will end, judging from the many movies. You have mentioned the earth will be wiped out either by a sudden nuclear war, genetically engineered virus or others. Do you still think so?
Stephen H: The universe is expanding and will continue to expand forever, but only very slowly, at at rate of about one part in ten billion each year. Of more immediate concern is that the sun will exhaust its nuclear fuel in five billion years. it will swell up, and engulf the earth. it will be time to move to another system, if we are still around.
But will the human race even survive the coming century, let alone the coming millennium? There are many dangers, but the one that worries me most is GLOBAL WARMING, as it may trigger the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the oceans, which would add to the warming. We might end up like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degree Celcius, and raining suplhuric acid.

Wong CW: In looking at the universe, what is your view on the issues of the earth like poverty, disease, war, hunger, etc?
Stephen H: I’m not worried about the future of the universe. The universe will continue whatever happens. But the future of the human race, and of life on Earth, is much less certain. We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity.

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