Doomsday Clock moves closest to midnight in 73-year history

Doomsday Clock moves closest to midnight in 73-year history

Doomsday Clock moves closest to midnight in 73-year history

In 1991, the clock was at 17 minutes to midnight - the furthest from apocalypse ever.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit organization made up of scientists and security leaders from around the world-including 13 Nobel Laureates-has moved the hands of its iconic Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight.

We are closer now than ever before to the end of the world as we know it. "We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds-not hours, or even minutes", Bronson said Thursday.

The announcement from the clock's keepers means the perceived threat is now more severe than it was a year ago and in 1953, when it was two minutes away.

The clock was originally set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947, and has shifted forward and backward 23 times since then.

The Clock, which warns of impending disasters and takes into account nuclear weapons, rising geopolitical tensions, as well as changes to the environment, was created in 1947 at the beginning of the arms race between the USA and the then-Soviet Union. The United Nations put out a report just last month noting carbon emissions need to fall almost 80 per cent this decade to avert the worst impacts of climate change yet this week atmospheric levels reached a new height.

"Climate change just compounds the crisis", he said.

So what factors determine how close we are to midnight?

While the hands of the clock typically move a minute at a time, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved it by 30 seconds in 2017 and 2018.

"We now face a true emergency - an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay".

Former California governor Jerry Brown, the Bulletin's executive chairman, warned that "dangerous rivalry and hostility among the superpowers increases the likelihood of nuclear blunder". They find the global security situation "dire", compounded by the fact that "leaders have allowed the worldwide political infrastructure for managing [threats] to erode".

Naturally, many were alarmed by the clock's new position - it's the closest it's ever been to midnight, now - but what exactly is the Doomsday Clock, who decides what "time" it is, and why should we care about it? Political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening. Climate change is a major reason why. But "government action" hasn't risen to meet that public push, and even the United Nations has "put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions", the statement continued.

Based on a cursory glance, the trending comments from Twitter users in response to the dire news shows many people reacting with comedic memes, GIFS, and jokes.

Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has also heightened the nuclear and climate threats.

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