Here on planet Earth, in this solar system, in the universe as we know it, the laws of physics are in total control and there are no exceptions.
Or, perhaps, it will be artificial intelligence that is the end of humanity. Humanity could become superfluous as machines become better and better and better --- Stephen Hawking says, “The danger is real that they [super-computers] could develop intelligence and take over the world.”, in which case our process down the drain may look like...
This simply leads us to a related extinction scenario - pandemics. A worldwide pandemic of new diseases emerge every year. This is not just from bats but from many sources. Some have the potential to devastate the human population. For example in 1918, a strain of influenza spread worldwide and killed between 20 and 50 million people.
A virus does not benefit if it kills all of its hosts, therefore, assuming the only host to be humans, at least in theory, a virus is unlikely to wipe out the human race. But a virus effecting a wider field of animals - mammals, could be a problem for human existence.
And, there are common parasites such as Toxoplasmosis which is one of the more common parasitic zoonoses world-wide. Parasites and viruses do mutate/evolve and when they do, all sorts of problems for humans can emerge.
All of the other matters facing humans living on Earth depend upon many other issues, most within our control. Perhaps we still have a chance if we can only...
Humans will be extinct in 100 years because the planet will be uninhabitable, said the late Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, one of the leaders in the effort to eradicate smallpox during the 1970s. He blamed overcrowding, denuded resources and climate change.
Fenner’s prediction, made in 2010, is not a sure bet, but he is correct that there is no way emissions reductions will be enough to save us from our trend toward doom. And there doesn’t seem to be any big global rush to reduce emissions, anyway. When the G7 called on Monday for all countries to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the next 85 years, the scientific reaction was unanimous: That’s far too late.
If you were to zoom out and take a comparative look back at our planet during the 1950s from some sort of cosmic time-travelling orbiter cube, you would probably first notice that millions of pieces of space trash had disappeared from orbit.
The moon would appear six and a half feet closer to Earth, and the continents of Europe and North America would be four feet closer together. Zooming in, you would be able to spot some of the industrial clambering of the Golden Age of Capitalism in the West and some of the stilted attempts at the Great Leap Forward in the East. Lasers, bar codes, contraceptives, hydrogen bombs, microchips, credit cards, synthesizers, superglue, Barbie dolls, pharmaceuticals, factory farming, and distortion pedals would just be coming into existence.
There would be two thirds fewer humans on the planet than there are now. Over a million different species of plants and animals would exist that have since gone extinct. There would be 90 percent more fish, a billion less tons of plastic, and 40 percent more phytoplankton (producers of half the planet’s oxygen) in the oceans. There would be twice as many trees covering the land and about three times more drinking water available from ancient aquifers. There would be about 80 percent more ice covering the northern pole during the summer season and 30 percent less carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. The list goes on...
Most educated and semi-concerned people know that these sorts of sordid details make up the backdrop of our retina-screened, ethylene-ripened story of progress, but what happens when you start stringing them all together?
Recent data seems to suggest that we may have already tripped several irrevocable, non-linear, positive feedback loops (melting of permafrost, methane hydrates, and arctic sea ice) that make an average global temperature increase of only 2°C by 2100 seem like a fairy tale. Instead, we’re talking 4°C, 6°C, 10°C, 16°C (????????) here.
The link between rapid climate change and human extinction is basically this: the planet becomes uninhabitable by humans if the average temperature goes up by 4-6°C. It doesn’t sound like a lot because we’re used to the temperature changing 15°C overnight, but the thing that is not mentioned enough is that even a 2-3°C average increase would give us temperatures that regularly surpass 40°C (104°F) in North America and Europe, and soar even higher near the equator. Human bodies start to break down after six hours at a wet-bulb (100% humidity) temperature of 35°C (95°F). This makes the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed over 70,000 people seem like not a very big deal.
There's still those laws of physics. One can observe that as the water far from the drain seems to move slowly, the water closer to the drain seems to move much faster. Some people give us only as much as 10 years...
"I can't see humans existing within 10 years. We can do nothing to stop the planet becoming too hot to grow food and support life. It is already happening and we have less than a decade left." Starvation, dehydration, disease, and exposure will lead the way, he said.
"Climate change and its impacts are here. Expect superstorms, extreme heat, high humidity, and increased spread of deadly diseases. Plants and non-human animals will die in ever-larger numbers. Civilisation will fail, leading to greatly exacerbated impacts."
Mr McPherson said he was not concerned that his message might alarm or distress people. "I'm a teacher. I relay evidence. I cite science. I'm not relying on a belief system." He says he has been labelled an extremist and worse, and regularly receives hate mail.
"I've been accused of many things, extremist included. I'm merely connecting a few dots based on the work of other scientists. In a culture characterised by willful ignorance and the inability to think critically, these accusations are to be expected."