It hasn’t been this close since the Cold War
In case you’re worried that your fears about the state of the world are unfounded, you can relax now, at least about that, because according to the people who track these things, you’re right. Unfortunately, you can’t really relax about anything else, because the world is in a very precarious place.
CBC News out of Canada reports that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the clock to two minutes to midnight, symbolically signaling the dire straits the planet currently finds itself in.
Time of the 2018 Doomsday Clock, as of today: It is 2 minutes to midnight. #turnbackthedoomsdayclock
— Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (@BulletinAtomic) January 25, 2018
Last week, Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the organization that controls the clock, did not mince words at a press conference on Thursday morning in Washington D.C. “It is with considerable concern that we set the Doomsday Clock, as of today. It is two minutes to midnight.”
Among the reasons for this move? President Trump’s blustery standoff with North Korea, and the world’s continued lack of action in regards to climate change.
BREAKING: Doomsday Clock signalling how close Earth is to destruction has been set at two minutes to midnight, the most dire reading since 1953. Trump's nuclear bravado and world's inaction on climate change blamed: https://t.co/kOFWUl34LM
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 25, 2018
The clock was first put into use in 1947, in the aftermath of the development of nuclear weapons, and the minute hand moves in accordance with how close the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ fear the destruction of the world may be. The minute hand has never before been so close to midnight. In 1949, it was moved to three minutes in response to the Soviet Union successfully testing their own nuclear bomb. But that, apparently, was nothing.
Last year, the clock moved to 2 1/2 minutes to midnight for similar reasons as now, and things have not calmed down. The chair of the Bulletin, Laurence Krauss, remarked, “The danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was in the Cold War.”
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) January 25, 2018
Another reason for concern? Technological advances like cyber threats and artificial intelligence, but the scientists are most concerned about the toll environmental changes are taking on the planet.
Sivan Kartha, who runs the bulletin’s science and security board, said, “[W]hat we’ve dumped into the atmosphere has increased sixfold. And as a consequence, Earth has warmed by one degree,” referring to the 40s and 50s, when the clock was near midnight without even a hint of climate change.
All in all, the world is getting more dangerous, and the movement of the clock reflects just how much, and how little time we may have left to fix things. We’d better hurry up, because if the Patriots win this weekend, that clock is sure to move again.