Venus is the nearest planet to Earth, both literally and metaphorically. It is the same size as Earth, with the same mass. Yet it is also completely different—its surface is a promethean nightmare. Choking blankets of carbon dioxide have created a runaway greenhouse effect that holds the surface temperature at more than 750°F, about twice as hot as a kitchen oven.

On the Earth, there is clear evidence for the build up of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, in part because humans are burning fossil fuels. The effect is global warming, and the worry is that this could lead to a situation similar to Venus, with our planet becoming a burning hell.

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Sidebar: If Earth suffered a runaway greenhouse effect, it would eventually resemble a planet like Venus.

– Excerpt from BBC May 2016 ‘The Future of Earth’ Special Edition Magazine, page 69