#OI2Dublin – Dr Stephen Hawking says world needs a more sustainable trajectory

20 May 2013

Physicist Stephen Hawking in zero gravity. Image courtesy of www.blueprintpodcast.com

Celebrated physicist Dr Stephen Hawking has warned that in light of the world surpassing 400ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide – the highest in 2m-3m years – the world needs to move to a more sustainable economic trajectory.

Hawking was echoing the views expressed earlier this morning at the Open Innovation 2.0 conference at Dublin Castle by Prof Martin Curley of Intel Labs Europe that by 2015 the equivalent of two Earths will be required to sustain the planet’s population.

Despite technological innovation, consumption of the world’s resources is exceeding supply.

“You only have to observe the financial carnage of last few years to show we need a new structure for economic development.

“A new trajectory is also required for sustainability,” Hawking warned, pointing to measurements noted on 9 May by the Mauna Loa monitoring station in Hawaii, which found that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was less than 400ppm.

The last time the Earth hit 400ppm was about 2m-3m years ago during the Pleistoscene era – when there were forests in Greenland and the seas were up to 20 metres higher than today.

Hawking said that the nature of innovation is emerging at a fast pace and he welcomed the new paradigm called Open Innovation 2.0.

“This will involve mass collaboration on a scale never seen before,” he said.

“I am excited. I hope that collective and collaborative intelligence can co-create a manifesto for a more sustainable trajectory.

“Courage and confidence are critical as we move towards a more sustainable global economy,” Hawking said.

In his video message to some of the leading innovation leaders in Europe, Hawking finished with these words: “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Be curious. Thank you for listening.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years