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What Stephen Hawking had to say about Climate Change?

in Opinion

The famous American Professor Stephen Hawking talked to the Wired recently about Climate Change. He is the renowned physicist, cosmologist, and author of the book The Brief History of Time.

In his interview, Professor Hawking lamented the fact of climate change denial by the American President Donald Trump. He says that he would ask the president to renounce his climate change denial. Although he also noted that the happening of such a thing does not look likely as “Trump continues to appease his electorate.”

The climate change debate recently accelerated a great deal when last June President Trump announced about the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, which was signed by America in the Obama-era in 2009. President Obama had pledged to reduce the greenhouse gases in the range of 17 percent below the levels of 2005 by the year 2020.

The accord was adopted by 195 countries in December 2015 at the Paris conference. Since then, about 170 countries have signed this agreement as of this month.

The Czech Republic also ratified the agreement very recently, coming into full force on 4th November of this year. The country committed to decreasing the emissions by 40 percent as of 2030 compared to 1990. Although the Czech minister Richard Brabec was a huge supporter of the deal, the Czech Republic remained the last country in the EU to ratify this agreement.

Under this agreement, all the countries would have to report its contributions regularly regarding emissions reduction to curb global warming. Although the deal lacked any enforcement mechanism, it was still widely hailed as a breakthrough agreement adopted unanimously by all the countries of the world.

Therefore, last June when President Trump announced its decision of withdrawal, all the European leaders were apparently not happy and insisted that the accord could not be re-negotiated. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni and French President Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement in this regard.

The American President complained that the accord put America at a disadvantage and that it was not good for the American economy. President Trump also was not happy about the conditions applied to the US for their emissions reduction. He was citing the example of China whose emissions reduction would begin in 2030, which according to him meant the transfer of coal jobs from the US to other foreign countries.

It is worth remembering here that this decision of Mr. Trump corresponds with the pledge of withdrawal that he had made earlier during his presidential campaign.

As much as Mr. Trump wants to withdraw as quickly as possible, the Article 28 of the agreement dictates that the US couldn’t withdraw before November 4, 2020. Therefore afterward, the White House clarified that the country will follow this process of exit.

However, in announcing his decision, he also said that he would be willing to re-negotiate the agreement. The interpretation of that re-negotiation he is talking about is not clear, and the White House declined to comment on this.

It is important to note that there is a considerable consensus of scientists about the anthropogenic cause of climate change. Hundreds of leading scientists and climate experts from around the world through the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report have corroborated this: “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history.”

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