Physicist Stephen Hawking has claimed in a recent interview that Earth could become a Venus-like hothouse planet. It would one day have acid rains and boiling ocean if mankind does not contain climate change, which is on an irreversible path.
"We are close to the tipping point, where global warming becomes irreversible,” Stephen Hawking said to BBC News. “Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid."
The celebrated physicist was talking about President Donald Trump’s move to pull out the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Professor Hawking was also pessimistic about the future of humans on Earth and said that the best way for the race to survive is to colonize space.
According to Live Science, climate scientists have, however, said that the statement is an implausible and dramatic exaggeration. Compared to Venus, Earth is located farther from the Sun. Moreover, Earth cannot have an atmosphere as thick with carbon dioxide as Venus because of the former’s chemical makeup. Subsequently, there is no possibility that Earth could reach a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius -- as described by Professor Hawking.
Climate scientist Michael Mann from Pennsylvania State University has added that though Professor Hawking has taken some rhetorical license, Earth cannot have a runaway greenhouse impact in the same way as Venus. However, according to Mann, Hawking has a point in the sense that if the danger of climate change is not averted, then Earth could become largely uninhabitable for mankind.
Incidentally, the aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep warming under 2 degree Celsius compared with preindustrial temperatures. However, even reaching that level for sustained phases could lead to changes that are already underway to absolutely disrupt farming and ecosystems.