The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the hands of their Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight last night.
It now stands at 11.57pm, the closest it’s been to midnight since 1984.
The Doomsday Clock is the BAS’s symbolic countdown to a possible global catastrophe. The group, which is advised by a board containing 18 Nobel Laureates, meets twice annually to discuss global events. In 1947, they launched the Doomsday Clock as a way to:
“…reflect basic changes in the level of continuous danger in which mankind lives in the nuclear age”
When launched, it was an indication of how close the world was to a nuclear catastrophe, but it has been amended in modern times to also reflect climate change scenarios.
Last night’s move was made due to both threats. The BAS said it saw an increased threat of nuclear war as superpowers refused to reduce their arsenals and cited huge concerns with global inaction over reducing carbon emissions.
“The world needs to awaken from its lethargy,” Kennette Benedict, executive director of BAS, said.
“We find conditions to be so threatening that we are moving the hand two minutes closer. It is now three minutes to midnight.
“The danger is great but our message is not one of hopelessness.”
In 67 years, BAS has only moved the hand 18 times and just four times this century.
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