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02 July 2017

Stephen Hawking warns of “irreversible damage”

Stephen Hawking has lamented Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Picture: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

DONALD Trump may cause irreversible damage to our planet, one of the world’s most revered scientists has warned, by exiting the Paris climate agreement.

Professor Stephen Hawking told BBC Newsthat Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the global agreement could eventually see the earth’s climate grow closer to that of the uninhabitable Venus, notable for its searing surface temperatures and acid rain.

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” he told the British broadcaster.

Trump announces the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord on June 1, describing it as a ‘job killer’ that made the rest of the world laugh at the United States. Picture: Andrew Harnik

Trump announces the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord on June 1, describing it as a ‘job killer’ that made the rest of the world laugh at the United States. Picture: Andrew HarnikSource:AP

“Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250C, and raining sulphuric acid.

“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent if we act now. “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.”

A giant wave in the upper atmosphere of Venus, imaged by Japan's Akatsuki orbiter. Credit: Planet-C For Martin George space column for Hobart Mercury

A giant wave in the upper atmosphere of Venus, imaged by Japan’s Akatsuki orbiter. Credit: Planet-C For Martin George space column for Hobart MercurySource:Supplied

Professor Hawking, 75, is the latest in a long line to attack Trump’s rejection of the science behind climate change by withdrawing from the Paris agreement.

In 2015, 195 countries, including Australia, signed up to the agreement, which aims to curb greenhouse emissions to keep the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels.

The aim is to limit the rise to 1.5C, which scientists say would significantly reduce risks and the impact of climate change.

Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement, announced last month, was slammed as “catastrophic” and “reckless” but the US President said he did so because he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburg, not Paris”.

Professor Hawking, 74, said, ‘Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.’

Professor Hawking, 74, said, ‘Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.’Source:AAP

He described the agreement as a “job killer”, suggested that other nations were laughing at America and said the accord was “about other countries gaining an advantage over the United States”.

“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” Mr Trump said.

“We want fair treatment for its citizens and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers.

“We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore, and they won’t be, they won’t be.”

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