In Brief

Stephen Hawking Fears He's Not Welcome in Trump's US

Stephen Hawking at a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, at One World Observatory on April 12, 2016, in New York City. (Image credit: Bryan Bedder/Stringer/Getty)

Stephen Hawking does not feel welcome in Donald Trump's America. The renowned physicist made this unhappy claim in a recent interview, and he expressed particular concern about how the Trump administration is treating the issue of climate change.

Hawking discussed U.S. politics during an interview with ITV's "Good Morning Britain" on Monday (March 20). Hawking, who once called Trump a "demagogue," said the new U.S. president was elected by "people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite in a revolt against globalization." The Trump administration's policies pertaining to climate change, and science in general, are an attempt to satisfy that electorate, Hawking told interviewer Piers Morgan.

Only about two months into his presidency, Trump has already signaled that science will not be a priority for his administration. Trump's proposed 2018 budget called for major funding cuts across the science-focused government agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already seen major changes since Trump's election, and could see its budget shrink by 31 percent under the proposed budget. [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]

In fact, it was the EPA that Hawking specifically noted when discussing the Trump administration. Hawking disagreed with the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the environmental agency. Pruitt, who called to abolish the EPA before his appointment, recently said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a main driver of climate change.

"[Trump] should replace Scott Pruitt," Hawking said when asked if he had a message for the U.S. president. "Climate change is one of the great dangers we face — and it's one we can prevent. It affects America badly, so tackling it should win votes for his second term. God forbid."

Hawking also said Trump's sanctioning of two oil pipelines continues the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

However, Hawking did note there are signs of hope in the world — for instance, the rise of women in powerful political positions. Also, despite policies that would deeply cut funding for many U.S. programs, science advancement continues to impress Hawking. The scientist specifically shared his excitement over the search for Earth-like planets.

Original article on Live Science.

Kacey Deamer
Staff Writer
Kacey Deamer is a journalist for Live Science, covering planet earth and innovation. She has previously reported for Mother Jones, the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, Neon Tommy and more. After completing her undergraduate degree in journalism and environmental studies at Ithaca College, Kacey pursued her master's in Specialized Journalism: Climate Change at USC Annenberg. Follow Kacey on Twitter.