According to the Doomsday Clock, the world is now just two minutes from apocalypse.
On Thursday, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists made an adjustment to the Doomsday Clock by pushing the second hand forward 30 seconds, making the likelihood of a global catastrophe. The clock is now set at just two minutes to midnight, making it the closest it has ever been since 1953 when the United States and the Soviet Union first tested thermonuclear weapons the year before.
According to president and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Rachel Bronson, the adjustment to the Doomsday Clock has a lot to do with the use of “reckless language” and increased tension concerning threats of nuclear warfare from the United States, North Korea and Russia in 2017.
“Because of the extraordinary danger of the current moment, the Science and Security Board today moves the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to catastrophe,” she said in a statement released Thursday. In 2017, the clock moved from three minutes from midnight to two and a half minutes to midnight. This latest adjustment brings the clock within two minutes of midnight.
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The Science and Security Board is hoping that by resetting the clock, it sends a message to world leaders that the world is in imminent nuclear danger.
Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, a global organization that pushes for the elimination of nuclear weapons, notes that since Trump has taken office the “outlook of the planet has gone from bad to worse” and the announcement of Thursday’s Doomsday Clock change should “serve as an urgent wake-up call and could be the last one we get,” in a statement.
The Doomsday Clock was first introduced in 1947 to represent a threat of man-made global catastrophe or nuclear war. Since 2007, climate change has also been used as one of the factors that can influence the clock.