It’s the latest warning from renowned scientist Stephen Hawking: “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” he told BBC. And because his brilliance is unquestionable, his warning, as far-fetched and extreme as it might seem, can’t simply be taken for granted.
This grim outlook didn’t just pop out of nowhere. It’s virtually a direct consequence of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty which Hawking says could ‘lead to irreversible climate change’ and could turn our planet into the next Venus — a planet with scorching temperatures of 250 degrees and an unforgiving environment with sulphuric acid as its rain.
It’s not like we’re not already aware of how dangerous our planet is becoming. As we continue to burn fossil fuels and pollute our air with toxic greenhouse gases, our planet’s average temperature continues to rise; our oceans and seas continue to get warmer; our ice is melting faster; weather phenomena are becoming more extreme and more frequent; and seasonal patterns all over the world are changing, and none for the better.
It’s why so much hope is pinned on the Paris Climate Agreement, which is supposed to be a global effort aimed at keeping Earth’s temperature from further rising uncontrollably. A total of 195 nations signed on to work together to keep the planet together. But with the U.S. suddenly turning its back on this noble effort, suddenly, there’s less optimism at what the treaty can actually accomplish, particularly because the U.S. does happen to be the second biggest greenhouse gas contributor (China holds the top spot), and continuing down that path can’t result in anything good.
It’s a good thing that even when the head of the country already said no, some of its states, including some of its industry leaders and other influential personalities, still chose to take their own stand and uphold the commitment to help slow down global warming and fight climate change. Because we need all the help we can get.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Hawking gave another stern warning: that if we can’t find another habitable world, our species will get exterminated. Connecting that warning with his latest, it’s just like saying we have to either manage our global warming problem, or find a new planet to colonize. We can’t fail to do both because that would mean the end of us, the end of humanity.
Can we do it? Save our species and our planet? Hawking is pessimistic, and his words clearly reflect it: “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 militarised 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.”
As grim as that outlook is, we shouldn’t take it sitting down. Yes, President Trump’s move might be a major blow that has the potential to push our planet to the brink of destruction. But we have to remain optimistic that those who want to save the world far outnumber those who want to push it towards the edge. And, well, let’s hope those upcoming space missions about Mars and whatnot prove fruitful as well, just in case.
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