Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced today that the symbolic 'Doomsday Clock,' by which they measure the current threat of existential destruction for humanity, has advanced to just two minutes from midnight.
"Although the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists focuses on nuclear risk, climate change, and emerging technologies, the nuclear landscape takes center stage in this year’s Clock statement," Bulletin president Rachel Bronson, PhD, said in a prepared statement. "Major nuclear actors are on the cusp of a new arms race, one that will be very expensive and will increase the likelihood of accidents and misperceptions."
The announcement came amid diplomatic tension between the United States and North Korea, although a failure to effectively respond to climate change in 2017 was also cited as a reason for the increased threat level.
“In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago — and as dangerous as it has been since World War II," said the Bulletin's official statement explaining the clock's resetting, announced in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club.
"The greatest risks last year arose in the nuclear realm. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region, and the United States," the statement continued.
"Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions on both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation."
The clock's current time is the closest it's been to midnight since 1953, when the hydrogen bomb was first tested.