Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has just issued (yet another) dire, apocalyptic warning: the US pullout from the Paris Accords could very well be the thing that pushes Earth into a hothouse meltdown. In his words, “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. 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 sulfuric acid.”
He continued, “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.”
How to assess such a claim? If one of the world’s smartest scientists says that we’re about to become a second Venus, shouldn’t we panic? Or, should we curtly dismiss such dramatic apocalypticism as yet another example of politically-charged environmental extremism?
Oh wait—I just discovered a third option. How about discussing Global Warming rationally? That’s the correct and very Catholic thing to do. (The following is a summary of a chapter on Global Warming in my book, In Defense of Nature, where more detail is provided.)
The whole Global Warming question is complicated. Let’s look at one angle on it, whether (as Hawking fears) we’re in imminent danger of becoming another Venus. Are we in danger of becoming another Venus?
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