The third rock from the Sun could wind up “like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees” after President Trump’s planned exit from the Paris climate accord, famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking says.
“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” Hawking told BBC News. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulfuric acid.”
Climate change is one global danger that “we can prevent if we act now,” the theoretical physicist said in an interview marking his 75th birthday.
“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,” Hawking said.
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Life on Earth isn’t likely to get any better, he added — predicting “the best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space.”
“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.”
Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax” and whose surrogates have refused to clarify his stance on the matter, announced last month he would pull the U.S. from the nonbinding 195-country agreement to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
The leaders of various American cities, states and companies, in turn, have re-pledged their intent to reduce emissions despite the President’s widely disputed decision.
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Former President Obama took an oblique swipe at his successor’s move during a Saturday speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he spent four years of his childhood.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history about climate change, an agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership can still give our children a fighting chance,” he said, according to the AP.
Trump next week is set to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg — where, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, she plans to emphasize Europe’s commitment to tackling climate change.
“Since the decision of the U.S. to quit the Paris climate agreement, we are more determined than ever to make it successful,” she said, per the Guardian.
“We must tackle this existential challenge, and we cannot wait until every last person on earth has been convinced of the scientific proof.”
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