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Stephen Hawking Says Trump’s Withdrawal From the Paris Accord Could ‘Push the Earth Over the Brink’

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World renowned physicist Steven Hawking said that President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Paris Climate Agreement could have catastrophic consequences for planet Earth.

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” the Cambridge professor said in an interview with BBC News, Sunday. “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 called climate change one of the great dangers facing humanity but said that quick action could mitigate its impact. “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,” he said.

The Paris accord aims to cut global emissions and keep worldwide temperatures from rising above 2°C (3.6°F), with a goal of limiting temperatures even more to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Read more: See What Happens to Your City if We Don’t Stop Climate Change

Hawking, 75, was also pessimistic about the survival of the human race on Earth. “I fear evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome. There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous,” he said. “The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space.”


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Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com