Scientists Move Doomsday Clock Closer to Apocalypse

Citing nuclear proliferation and climate change, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Thursday set the clock to three minutes to midnight.

Scientists set the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight.(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Scientists set the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight.(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

January 22, 2015 It’s 2015, and Cold War fears of nuclear Armageddon have largely faded from public consciousness. But scientists Thursday moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock, which for decades has signaled the urgency of threats to humanity, to the second most critical position in its history: three minutes to midnight.

“Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,” wrote the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has published the Doomsday Clock since 1947, in explaining Thursday’s adjustment.

At its conception, the Bulletin’s doomsday predictions focused only on the dangers of nuclear proliferation, but in the last decade, its scientists have also begun considering the effects of climate change in their macabre horology.

“This is about doomsday. This is about the end of civilization as we know it,” said the Bulletin’s executive director, Kennette Benedict, at the Thursday announcement.

Only once in history has the minute hand hovered closer to midnight. In 1953, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union both tested the world’s first hydrogen bombs, the panel of scientists set the clock at two minutes to midnight. “Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago, atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization,” the Bulletin wrote then.

Read more at the National Journal

You may read the original press release from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists here.

Categories: Climate change, Climate science, Nuclear arms control, Politics, Science, Top stories, World news

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4 replies

  1. I have been scanning the news and this is the first time I have seen: “scientist using with Doomsday clock”. Thank you, that changes the subject when Science is included.. I ignored the other links thinking it was RR Religious dreams.

    I enjoyed this article and agree that it is time to use the world clock again. It was a useful tool and made a Nation think and act. It is time for positive action.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello, gen. I first became acquainted with the “Bulletin” about 30 years ago, during the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s. Here is A Brief History of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, if you’re interested.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. IMO that more likely a Caldera will blow and that will change a Whole lot of things. People do tend to forget that the earth’s crust …moves on a foundation of magma. I’m betting on the Erta Ale because of the more recent history of earthquake levels in that area. But there are sleeper ones too. Oh how to choose. sighhh

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I’m not an expert on the subject, but the Yellowstone Bulge is a little bit scary. Still, the Earth is littered with potential supervolcanoes, and they don’t usually suddenly blow overnight. Tambora in 1815 was the largest eruption on Earth in over 10,000 years, and it had only 1/200th the power of a supervolcano. We’re not likely to see another such eruption in our lifetimes.

    Erta Ale is a basaltic shield volcano, the wrong type to produce a massive megaton explosion capable of destroying life on Earth. Supervolcanoes are usually composite type volcanoes with very large, very deep magma chambers.

    As natural phenomena go, we’re much more likely to be surprised by an asteroid. Ooops. Totally did not see that coming. 🙂

    The threat to the human race as a result of global warming is very real and very significant. Personally, I am much, much more worried about the resumption of the Cold War arms race that has now begun. Russia is rearming, has openly violated its intermediate strategic nuclear weapons treaty with the United States, and has begun deploying nuclear capable forces in a posture that is overtly more threatening toward Europe and the United States. I am very, very concerned about these developments.


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