Noam Chomsky began working at MIT in 1955. Reuters

Prominent scientist and philosopher Noam Chomsky said Tuesday the world faces great difficulties and possible threats from both nuclear war and climate change under President-elect Donald Trump. Chomsky, 87, stressed young people could reignite the middle class and labor movement while praising former Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders.

“The threats and dangers are very real. There are plenty of opportunities. And as we face them, again, particularly the younger people among you, we should never overlook the fact that the threats that we now face are the most severe that have ever arisen in human history,” Chomsky told a crowd at Riverside Church in New York City. “They are literal threats to survival: nuclear war, environmental catastrophe. These are very urgent concerns. They cannot be delayed. They became more urgent on Nov. 8th, for the reasons you know... They have to be faced directly, and soon, if the human experiment is not to prove to be a disastrous failure.”

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and author also touched on issues like labor and foreign policy and how the country has been walled off by South American and Asian nations at Democracy Now!’s 20th-anniversary event in New York. Chomsky said the U.S. has been isolating itself for years. He said President Barack Obama’s economic “pivot” toward Asia, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and China’s glaring absence from it, has led to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other trade agreements excluding the U.S. while its allies sign up. By extension, Chomsky said Trump’s threat of “tearing up” a nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran could only further isolate the U.S.

“Another step toward isolation may soon take place if the president-elect carries through his promise to terminate the nuclear weapons—the nuclear deal with Iran,” he said. “Other countries who are parties to the deal might well continue. They might even—Europe, mainly. That means ignoring U.S. sanctions. That will extend U.S. isolation, even from Europe. And in fact Europe might move, under these circumstances, toward backing off from the confrontation with Russia.”

Chomsky said Sanders' campaign offered hopes for younger people, the middle class and laborers, who he said have “suffered” due to neo-liberal policies started in 1979, according to The Independent.

"Suppose people like you, the Sanders movement, offered an authentic, constructive program for real hope and change, it would win these people back," Chomsky said. "I think many of the Trump voters could have voted for Sanders if there had been the right kind of activism and organization. and those are possibilities. It's been done in the past under much harsher circumstances."