Stephen Hawking, widely considered Earth’s most brilliant living scientist, says that President Donald Trump’s views and actions on climate change (or lack thereof) could turn the Earth into a hothouse planet like Venus, in his own words, “with a temperature of 250 degrees and raining sulfuric acid,” according to BBC. Hawking believes that President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement could result in irreversible climate change, warning that the planet is “close to the tipping point” beyond which human-driven climate change would be irreversible, with devastating consequences.
Hawking said that, by denying climate change and pulling out of the Paris Agreement, Trump will cause avoidable damage to the planet.
Trump announced back in early June that he intends to pull America out of the Paris Agreement, a voluntary international accord to reduce climate change across the globe. And while many politicians on the state and local level have indicated that they will continue to uphold the agreement locally, leaders around the world have condemned Trump for his proposed withdrawal. Russian president Vladimir Putin reiterated his country’s commitment to the agreement, while China actually signed a separate climate deal with California in response.
China is currently on track to meet their Paris Agreement goals a decade early, cancelling the planned construction of over 100 new coal-fired power plants, instead investing $360 billion in green energy projects.
America, if the withdrawal is completed, would join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not party to the Paris Agreement.
Stephen Hawking, meanwhile, is pessimistic that humans can ever overcome their “inbuilt greed and aggression” sufficiently to preserve the Earth, and believes that the best hope for the survival of the species is an interstellar diaspora. He also expressed his belief that Brexit would leave British science (Hawking is a professor at Britain’s prestigious Cambridge University) trailing behind the rest of the developed world.
“Science is a cooperative effort, so the impact will be wholly bad, and will leave British science isolated and inward looking.”
It’s not the first time that Hawking has spoken out about climate change, and Donald Trump in particular. According to TIME, during the 2016 election, Hawking was signatory to a letter expressing concerns that “the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord.”
President Obama awarded Stephen Hawking the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in 2009, America’s highest civilian honor.
Hawking believes that, between climate change, weapons of mass destruction, and other factors, humanity is rapidly approaching a point of no return if we do not spread ourselves to more than our present planetary home.
“The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space.”
[Featured Image by China Photos/Getty Images]