Politics Magazine

As We Remember Hawking, We Must Heed His Warning

Posted on the 15 March 2018 by Jobsanger
As We Remember Hawking, We Must Heed His Warning Stephen Hawking has died, and the world will be a little worse for his absence. Fortunately, he left a remarkable body of scientific work. He also warned us about what we are doing to our planet. The following is part of an article at Think Progress by Joe Romm:
Renowned physicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking died Wednesdaymorning in his Cambridge, England home at the age of 76. Hawking had become an iconic figure because of his scientific brilliance, his popular writings, and the grace and humor with which he waged a multi-decade fight against ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuromuscular disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. As physicist Michio Kaku, told the New York Times: “Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world.” In recent years, Hawking used his status as a legendary scientist to warn the public about the dangers posed by a number of  catastrophic threats to humanity, particularly global climate change. In 2016, he warned that climate change was the gravest threat facing humanity. That September he also joined 377 members of the National Academy of Sciences in signing an open letter that began, “Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality.” The letter warned about a Trump victory, explaining that “it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord” and that “such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change.” In July 2017, Hawking told the BBC that President Trump’s climate policies could permanently destroy the Earth’s livable climate. “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” he explained. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250º” Celsius (482°F). While “climate change is one of the great dangers we face,” the good news, Hawking noted, is that “it’s one we can prevent if we act now.” But the tragedy is that “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.”. . . The good news is that the rest of the world is committed to meeting its Paris carbon emission reduction pledges. But we are fast approaching irreversible tipping points, as Hawking warns, so Trump’s pro-pollution policies might well be enough to ensure that we do cross them. Hawking became famous for his study of the past, and his 1998 book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” which has sold more than 10 million copies. But it’s his warnings about the future we most need to heed today.

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