Stephen Hawking: Trump’s climate policy could turn Earth into hothouse Venus
Stephen Hawking has hit out at US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, saying the move could turn the Earth into a Venus-like hothouse planet.
The astrophysicist made the dire prediction during an interview with the BBC ahead of his 75th birthday.
"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid," Hawking told BBC News.
"By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children."
Trump announced his decision to pull out of the climate agreement last month at a White House press conference last month.
“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining financial advantages over the US,” the president said.
He added that implementing the pact would have cost the US trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of industrial jobs due to reductions in mineral and energy production.
World leaders quickly condemned Trump’s stance and dismissed the idea that his administration could begin negotiations to reenter the deal on different terms.
Hawking has long been a trenchant critic of Trump’s stance on climate change. In September 2016, he put his name to an open letter railing against Trump’s suggestion that the US would ditch the Paris deal under his stewardship.
"During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control," the letter read. "Such claims are inconsistent with reality."
Generally, however, the 75-year-old is not optimistic about the future of the human race, and believes that if we have any hope of surviving a future climate cataclysm the human race will have to leave Earth for good.
"I fear evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome,” he said. “There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous. The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space."
Prof Hawking is not the only leading intellectual to criticize Trump’s climate policy in recent days.
In an interview with RT, renowned academic and activist Noam Chomsky also voiced his fears about US withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
‘US is racing toward the precipice, while the world is trying to save itself’ - Chomsky to RT https://t.co/mjFitTgQue— RT (@RT_com) July 2, 2017
“The position of the savage wing of American capitalism, the Republican Party, is really striking, they are really racing toward a precipice. Has there really been an organization in history that has dedicated itself to the destruction of human life?” said Chomsky.
“The US is racing toward the precipice, while the world is trying to do something.”