Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

'Doomsday Clock' closest to midnight in its 73-year history

'Doomsday Clock' closest to midnight in its 73-year history

In making its decision to inch the clock closer to midnight, the group explained Thursday in a statement that humanity "continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers-nuclear war and climate change-that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society's ability to respond".

The clock was introduced in 1967 and is a symbolic representation of how close humanity is to destroying civilization.

After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the Bulletin was founded by University of Chicago scientists who had been involved with the Manhattan Project.

"The world has entered into the realm of a two-minute warning", Ms. Bronson said.

The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever been to midnight is in 2020, when its hands were moved to 100 seconds to midnight.

They find the worldwide security situation "dire", compounded by the fact that "leaders have allowed the global political infrastructure for managing [threats] to erode".

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The decision was made by the group's science and security board following a year in which man-made threats to humanity, such as nuclear proliferation and climate change, were hastened by moves away from worldwide cooperation, she said.

While the clock did not move in 2019, its minute hand was set forward in 2018 by 30 seconds, to two minutes before midnight. "In sum, the situation is extremely unsafe, and requires an emergency response".

The Doomsday Clock has been around since 1947, the start of the Cold War. The Bulletin declared that "the need for emergency action is urgent". Perhaps most important for long-term stability, the Bulletin says the global community should work to penalize the misuse of science, a trend that is on the rise thanks in part to the efforts of the Trump administration.

'This shows that what's happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: We know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, ' a NASA official said of the findings. He criticized Trump for delivering a speech-at the World Economic Forum's summit for the global elite in Davos, Switzerland-that called for rejecting "alarmists" and "perennial prophets of doom", along with their "predictions of the apocalypse".

Each year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a non-profit group that sets the clock, decides whether the events of the previous year pushed humanity closer to or farther from destruction.

The Bulletin's executive chairman and former Governor of California Jerry Brown also remarked that a "dangerous rivalry and hostility among the superpowers increases the likelihood of nuclear blunder".

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