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Jun 16, 2010

Humans are on the edge of extinction, Frank Fenner tells the Oz

In case you missed it, page 25 of The Australian (buried deep in the Higher Education supplement) has an interview with

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In case you missed it, page 25 of The Australian (buried deep in the Higher Education supplement) has an interview with Emeritus Professor Frank Fenner in which he predicts that humans will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years, as a result of climate change.

As the article’s author, Cheryl Jones, notes, Fenner, now 95, is an authority on extinction. He helped to send one species into oblivion: the variola virus that causes smallpox, and his work on the myxoma virus suppressed wild rabbit populations on farming land in southeastern Australia in the early 1950s.

He told Jones in an interview: “We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island. Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we’re seeing remarkable changes in the weather already….The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear. Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years. A lot of other animals will, too. It’s an irreversible situation. 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. Mitigation would slow things down a bit, but there are too many people here already.”

Fenner is due to open the Healthy Climate, Planet and People symposium at the Australian Academy of Science next week.

Melissa Sweet —

Melissa Sweet

Health journalist and Croakey co-ordinator

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