Stephen Hawking has warned that Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change could “push the Earth over the brink” and lead to a point where global warming is “irreversible”.
The President announced last month that the US would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, which has been signed by nearly 200 nations, claiming he wants to “renegotiate” the US’s part in the agreement to ensure American businesses are not disadvantaged.
He has highlighted the coal industry as one that would suffer under the climate change deal.
Mr Trump’s decision has been widely criticised, with France, Italy and Germany issuing a statement that the deal is “not negotiable,” while Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her “disappointment” to the President in a phone call at the time.
At an event to mark the theoretical physicist’s birthday, Mr Hawking told BBC News on Sunday he believes the President’s decision will cause avoidable environmental damage to the planet for generations to come.
“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,” he said.
He added that climate change is one of the “great dangers” facing the planet, which can be prevented it action is taken now.
By denying the evidence of climate change and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the President “will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children,” Mr Hawking told the broadcaster.
The professor marked his birthday with a series of specially-organised public lectures on gravity and black holes.
His talk on Sunday at Cambridge University reflected on his life and scientific work, following an afternoon of lectures from other distinguished scientists, including Professor Brian Cox.
Professor Hawking said mankind must continue to go into space “for the future of humanity”.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our natural planet,” he said. “I therefore want to encourage public interest in space.”
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