Stephen Hawking Flies off the Scientific Reservation

July 3rd, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I can understand when pop-scientists like Bill Nye spout scientific silliness.

But complete nonsense coming from Stephen Hawking? Really?

In this video, Stephen Hawking claims that Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Accord could lead to the Earth being pushed past a tipping point, with Venus-like 250 deg. C temperatures and sulfuric acid rain.

The trouble with this statement is that no reputable climate scientist would claim such a thing. The reason is that Venus has about 220,000 times as much carbon dioxide in its atmosphere as does Earth.

Meanwhile, human civilization will have trouble simply doubling (2x) our atmospheric CO2 concentration (it’s taken about 100 years to increase it by 50%, which is half way to doubling).

Since we don’t know what our future energy mix will be in 50-100 years, it’s not obvious we will even reach “2XCO2”.

So, how could we possibly get from 2x to 220,000x?

We can’t.


Not even if we wanted to.

Venus is a very different planet. Venus has 93x as much atmosphere as Earth, and it is almost 100% CO2. The CO2 concentration in our comparatively thin atmosphere is only 0.04%.

I have no idea where Hawking ever got such a wild idea. Apparently, he had his audience in tears with his dire predictions.

This is partly why the public makes fun of scientists. Sad.

297 Responses to “Stephen Hawking Flies off the Scientific Reservation”

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  1. John Doll says:

    You are so wrong!
    The climate models used to show CO2 driven climate change predict the temperatures the earth will have in 100 years perfectly!
    The only problem is that if those models are run in reverse to calculate past temperatures then they deviate seriously deviate from the recorded past temperatures.
    How often do you hear “95% of scientists agree on the CO2 driven climate change”?
    How many of that 95% called bill nye on his bullshit “Greenhouse in a jar” demonstration?
    They can model the incomprehensibly complex mechanisms of the earth’s climate, but highschool physics eludes them.