The world's best-known living physicist, Stephen Hawking, says that President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord could lead humanity to a tipping point, "turning the Earth into Venus."
The Cambridge professor and renowned cosmologist made the remarks in an interview with the BBC that aired Sunday.
"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible," Hawking told the BBC. "Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid."
Hawking, who is best known for his discoveries about black holes, called climate change "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," Hawking told the BBC.
Increasing renewable energy in the US can solve climate change
Zervos, Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, 07
[Arthouros Zervos, January 24, 2007, Renewable Energy World, Increasing Renewable Energy in U.S. Can Solve Global Warming, http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2007/01/increasing-renewable-energy-in-u-s-can-solve-global-warming-47208.html]
Landmark analysis released by Greenpeace USA, European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and other climate and energy advocates shows that the United States can indeed address global warming without relying on nuclear power or so-called "clean coal" -- as some in the ongoing energy debate claim. The new report, "Energy Revolution: A Blueprint for Solving Global Warming" details a worldwide energy scenario where nearly 80% of U.S. electricity can be produced by renewable energy sources; where carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced 50% globally and 72% in the U.S. without resorting to an increase in dangerous nuclear power or new coal technologies; and where America's oil use can be cut by more than 50% by 2050 by using much more efficient cars and trucks (potentially plug-in hybrids), increased use of biofuels and a greater reliance on electricity for transportation. The 92-page report, commissioned by the German Aerospace Center, used input on all technologies of the renewable energy industry, including wind turbines, solar photovoltaic panels, biomass power plants, solar thermal collectors, and biofuels, all of which "are rapidly becoming mainstream."
Ag literacy is key to effective renewables deployment
Doerfert, Texas Tech University Agricultural Communications Associate Chair & Professor, 11
[Doerfert, D. L. (Ed.) (2011). American Association for Agricultural Education, “National research agenda: American Association for Agricultural Education’s research priority areas for 2011-2015,” http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE%20National%20Research%20Agenda.pdf, pg. 11-12, Accessed 6.28.2017]//TRossow
In the year 2010, the earth’s human population almost reached seven billion. This growing population is experiencing changes in demographics, increased urbanization, increased worldwide agricultural production needs, and changes in agricultural trade policies. In the midst of these changes, the world population is still dependent upon an agricultural system that will provide them with food and clothing as well as an increasing variety of other products (including energy) designed to enhance their living environment. The foundation to this important economic, political, and life-sustaining system is still the farm. However, less than two percent of the U.S. population lives on a farm—a stark contrast to 30% in 1920 and 15% in 1950 (National Research Council, 1988). Technological and economic advances have led to reductions in the number of farms and rural community population and a comparable increase in average farm size. One of the consequences of these shifts is that the majority of today’s elementary school children are at least two generations away from first-hand knowledge of agriculture (American Farm Bureau Federation, 2002; Farm Bureau Federation, 1983). The result is a profound revelation that the future of American agriculture rests in the hands of ninety-eight percent of the United States population who do not reside on a farm and may have little to no understanding of agriculture. Beyond the farm, American agriculture is a broad-based, growing industry that employs people in virtually every community in the nation, plays a vital role in the history of the nation and the food and fiber system, and contributes to our nation’s economy and national security. Unfortunately, this ability to produce food and materials for human usage is a system that the average American takes for granted. This seemingly ambivalent attitude combined with the population shift from rural communities to more urbanized areas has weakened the real success story of American agriculture (Jepsen, Pastor, & Elliot, 2007; Pope, 1990). Arguably, an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social, and environmental significance, both domestically and internationally, is important for all Americans. Supporting this argument is the increasing influence of special interest groups involved in issues such as animal rights, pesticide usage, soil and water conservation, and other environmental concerns as they seek to gain the media’s and public’s attention— often through emotional pleas or capitalizing on negative events in agriculture to better position their cause. As such, it becomes increasingly imperative that the general public understands the history and current challenges of agriculture and how it affects each person’s life on a daily basis (Law, 1990; Sharp, Foster, & Elliot, 2007). In 1988, the National Research Council defined agricultural literacy as the goal of “education about agriculture.” Agriculturally literate people are defined as those who have some knowledge of food and fiber production, processing, marketing, and the practical knowledge needed to care for their outdoor environments, which include lawns, gardens, recreational areas, and parks (National Research Council, 1988). Vital to the continued success of the U.S. agriculture industry and the nation as a whole, is a well-informed, literate society that has the capability to make informed decisions about agriculture (Igo & Frick, 1999; Ryan & Lockaby, 1996). Bekker et al. (1999) defined an informed decision as one where a reasoned choice is made by a reasonable individual using relevant information about the advantages and disadvantages of all the possible courses of action, in accord with the individual’s beliefs. For agriculture, this relevant information must include some knowledge of food and fiber production, processing, and domestic and international marketing, as well as agriculture’s role in renewable energy, natural resource management, community resiliency, human nutrition, food safety, and other bio-based products and processes. To achieve this end, consumers and policy makers must have access to information that is critical for informed decision making about agriculture, food, and natural resources. There exists a general belief among K-16 educators, as well as scientists, that people must be scientifically and agriculturally literate in order to make wise and informed economic and political decisions about the use of renewable resources (Cardwell, 1994; Glassman, Elliot, & Knight, 2007). Though functional agricultural literacy does not imply a high scientific level of understanding about agriculture, it does consist of minimal knowledge levels which take into account an understanding of basic agricultural methods, the basic vocabulary of agricultural terms, and the ability to understand the impact of agriculture on society (Frick & Spotanski, 1990). Yet, the problem of agricultural illiteracy remains widespread, having serious ramifications in the arenas of public policy development, development of personnel to serve the broad agricultural industry, and in the education of people from kindergarten through adult levels (Russell, McCracken, & Miller, 1990; Wals, 2010).
Renewables Solve Climate
Renewable energy key to solving climate change
Long, Western Energy Legal Director, 16
[Noah, 7/26/17, The Natural Resources Defense Council, “Renewable Energy Is Key to Fighting Climate Change”, https://www.nrdc.org/experts/noah-long/renewable-energy-key-fighting-climate-change, 7/3/17, KW]
Renewable energy is one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change, and there is every reason to believe it will succeed. A recent New York Times column seems to imply that renewable energy investments set back efforts to address climate change—nothing could be further from the truth. What’s more, renewable technologies can increasingly save customers money as they displace emissions from fossil fuels.
Climate – Extinction
Warming is real, anthropogenic, and causes extinction
Schiffman, The Atlantic, Environmental Writer, 13
[Richard, September 27, 2013, The Atlantic, “What Leading Scientists Want You to Know About Today’s Frightening Climate Report, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/leading-scientists-weigh-in-on-the-mother-of-all-climate-reports/280045/, accessed: 6/30/17, SK]
The polar icecaps are melting faster than we thought they would; seas are rising faster than we thought they would; extreme weather events are increasing. Have a nice day! That’s a less than scientifically rigorous summary of the findings of the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released this morning in Stockholm. Appearing exhausted after a nearly two sleepless days fine-tuning the language of the report, co-chair Thomas Stocker called climate change “the greatest challenge of our time,"adding that “each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than the past,” and that this trend is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Pledging further action to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This isn’t a run of the mill report to be dumped in a filing cabinet. This isn’t a political document produced by politicians... It’s science."And that science needs to be communicated to the public, loudly and clearly. I canvassed leading climate researchers for their take on the findings of the vastly influential IPCC report. What headline would they put on the news? What do they hope people hear about this report? When I asked him for his headline, Michael Mann, the Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State (a former IPCC author himself) suggested: "Jury In: Climate Change Real, Caused by Us, and a Threat We Must Deal With." Ted Scambos, a glaciologist and head scientist of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) based in Boulder would lead with: "IPCC 2013, Similar Forecasts, Better Certainty." While the report, which is issued every six to seven years, offers no radically new or alarming news, Scambos told me, it puts an exclamation point on what we already know, and refines our evolving understanding of global warming. The IPCC, the indisputable rock star of UN documents, serves as the basis for global climate negotiations, like the ones that took place in Kyoto, Rio, and, more recently, Copenhagen. (The next big international climate meeting is scheduled for 2015 in Paris.) It is also arguably themost elaborately vetted and exhaustively researched scientific paper in existence. Founded in 1988 by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, the IPCC represents the distilled wisdom of over 600 climate researchers in 32 countries on changes in the Earth’s atmosphere, ice and seas. It endeavors to answer the late New York mayor Ed Koch’s famous question “How am I doing?” for all of us. The answer, which won’t surprise anyone who has been following the climate change story, is not very well at all. It is now 95 percent likely that human spewed heat-trapping gases — rather than natural variability — are the main cause of climate change, according to today’s report. In 2007 the IPCC’s confidence level was 90 percent, and in 2001 it was 66 percent, and just over 50 percent in 1995. What’s more, things are getting worse more quickly than almost anyone thought would happen a few years back. “If you look at the early IPCC predictions back from 1990 and what has taken place since, climate change is proceeding faster than we expected,” Mann told me by email. Mann helped develop the famous hockey-stick graph, which Al Gore used in his film “An Inconvenient Truth” to dramatize the sharp rise in temperatures in recent times. Mann cites the decline of Arctic sea ice to explain : “Given the current trajectory, we're on track for ice-free summer conditions in the Arctic in a matter of a decade or two... There is a similar story with the continental ice sheets, which are losing ice — and contributing to sea level rise — at a faster rate than the [earlier IPCC] models had predicted.” But there is a lot that we still don’t understand. Reuters noted in a sneak preview of IPCC draft which was leaked in August that, while the broad global trends are clear, climate scientists were “finding it harder than expected to predict the impact in specific regions in coming decades.” From year to year, the world’s hotspots are not consistent, but move erraticallyaround the globe. The same has been true of heat waves, mega-storms and catastrophic floods, like the recent ones that ravaged the Colorado Front Range. There is broad agreement that climate change is increasing the severity of extreme weather events, but we’re not yet able to predict where and when these will show up. “It is like watching a pot boil,” Danish astrophysicist and climate scientist Peter Thejll told me. “We understand why it boils but cannot predict where the next bubble will be.” There is also uncertainty about an apparent slowdown over the last decade in the rate of air temperature increase. While some critics claim that global warming has “stalled,”others point out that, when rising ocean temperatures are factored in, the Earth is actually gaining heat faster than previously anticipated. “Temperatures measured over the short term are just one parameter,” said Dr Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in an interview. “There are far more critical things going on; the acidification of the ocean is happening a lot faster than anybody thought that it would, it’s suckingup more CO2, plankton, the basic food chain of the planet, are dying, it’s such a hugely important signal. Why aren’t people using that as a measure of what is going on?” Barnett thinks that recent increases in volcanic activity, which spews smog-forming aerosols into the air that deflect solar radiation and cool the atmosphere, might help account for the temporary slowing of global temperature rise. But he says we shouldn’t let short term fluctuations cause us to lose sight of the big picture. The dispute over temperatures underscores just how formidable the IPCC’s task of modeling the complexity of climate change is. Issued in three parts (the next two installments are due out in the spring), the full version of the IPCC will end up several times the length of Leo Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace. Yet every last word of the U.N. document needs to be signed off on by all of the nations on earth. “I do not know of any other area of any complexity and importance at all where there is unanimous agreement... and the statements so strong,” Mike MacCracken, Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs, Climate Institute in Washington, D.C. told me in an email. “What IPCC has achieved is remarkable (and why it merited the Nobel Peace Prize granted in 2007).” Not surprisingly, the IPCC’s conclusions tend to be “conservative by design,” Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist with the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology told me: “The IPCC is not supposed to represent the controversial forefront of climate science. It is supposed to represents what nearly all scientists agree on, and it does that quite effectively.” Nevertheless, even these understated findings are inevitably controversial. Roger Pielke Jr., the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder suggested a headline that focuses on the cat fight that today’s report is sure to revive: "Fresh Red Meat Offered Up in the Climate Debate, Activists and Skeptics Continue Fighting Over It." Pielke should know. A critic of Al Gore, who has called his own detractors "climate McCarthyists," Pielke has been a lightning rod for the political controversy which continues to swirl around the question of global warming, and what, if anything, we should do about it. The public’s skepticism of climate change took a dive after Hurricane Sandy. Fifty-four percent of Americans are now saying that the effects of global warming have already begun. But 41 percent surveyed in the same Gallup poll believe news about global warming is generally exaggerated, and there is a smaller but highly passionate minority that continues to believe the whole thing is a hoax. Formost climate experts, however, the battle is long over — at least when it comes to the science. What remains in dispute is not whether climate change is happening, but how fast things are going to get worse. There are some possibilities that are deliberately left out of the IPCC projections, because we simply don’t have enough data yet to model them. Jason Box, a visiting scholar at the Byrd Polar Research Center told me in an email interview that: “The scary elephant in the closetis terrestrial and oceanic methane release triggered by warming.” The IPCC projections don’t include the possibility — some scientists say likelihood — that huge quantities of methane (a greenhouse gas thirty times as potent as CO2) will eventually be released from thawing permafrost and undersea methane hydrate reserves. Box said that the threshhold “when humans lose control of potential management of the problem, may be sooner than expected.” Box, whose work has been instrumental in documenting the rapid deterioration of the Greenland ice sheet, also believes that the latest IPCC predictions (of a maximum just under three foot ocean rise by the end of the century) mayturn out to be wildly optimistic, if the Greenland ice sheet breaks up. “We are heading into uncharted territory” he said. “We are creating a different climate than the Earth has ever seen.” The head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, speaks for the scientific consensus when he says that time is fast running out to avoid the catastrophic collapse of the natural systems on which human life depends. What he recently told a group of climate scientist could be the most chilling headline of all for the U.N. report: "We have five minutes before midnight."
Climate – Conflict Multiplier
Climate change causes extinction - turns economy and global security
Brzezinski, Former National Security Advisor, Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins and PhD from Harvard, 12
[Zbigniew Brzezinski, 12, Basic Books, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, http://www.otvoroci.com/uploads/3/8/0/5/38053843/strategic_vision__america_and_the_crisis_of_global_power.pdf, Accessed 7-1-17, RK]
Global climate change is the final component of the environmental commons and the one with the greatest potential geopolitical impact. Scientists and policy makers alike have projected catastrophic consequences for mankind and the planet if the world average temperature rises by more than two degrees over the next century. Plant and animal species could grow extinct at a rapid pace, largescale ecosystems could collapse, human migration could increase to untenable levels, and global economic development could be categorically reversed. Changes in geography, forced migration, and global economic contraction layered on top of the perennial regional security challenges could create a geopolitical reality of unmanageable complexity and conflict, especially in the densely populated and politically unstable areas of Asia such as the Northeast and South. Furthermore, any legitimate action inhibiting global climate change will require unprecedented levels of self-sacrifice and international cooperation. The United States does consider climate change a serious concern, but its lack of both long-term strategy and political commitment, evidenced in its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the repeated defeat of climate-change legislation in Congress, deters other countries from participating in a global agreement.