On Thursday, in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced it moved the hands of the “Doomsday Clock” 30 seconds more than the two-and-a-half minutes that it was estimated in 2017. This year, with only 2 minutes from the destruction, the group of experts expressed the increasing worries in front of nuclear weapons and climate change.

According to the president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Rachel Bronson, the world is in times of “extraordinary danger,” which is why the Science and Security Board decided to advance the Clock “30 seconds closer to catastrophe.”

This is the closest we’ve ever been to Doomsday, and “as close as it was in 1953, at the height of the Cold War” – when the hydrogen bomb was first tested.

“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 reads. “Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions on both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.”

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the symbolic "Doomsday Clock", The closest to destruction, Cold War and World War II
Two minutes is the closest the clock has ever been. Image credit: Sky news

Millions of things happen in an entire year, but only a few of them are worth to make the scientists believe they need to move the Doomsday Clock. However, they don’t just do it to represent lousy news. Each year, the non-profit group announces whether they decided to move it closer or further from the end.

Nuclear weapons and climate change

The chair of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors and director of Arizona State University’s Origins Project, Lawrence Krauss, said that the “clear statement” the group of scientists made was to express they feel “the world is getting more dangerous.” Then, the American-Canadian physicist added that the “danger of nuclear conflagration is not the only reason the clock has been moved forward.”

Although nuclear weapons are practically the main reason why the scientists decided to move the clock, it’s not the only one. There a series of threats that they think can lead the world to be worse than what it is right now.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the symbolic "Doomsday Clock", The closest to destruction, Cold War and World War II
The clock can be moved both closer or further. Image credit: Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

In the statement the experts gave, it says that the world leaders, in 2017, 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.” Then, it claims that this situation is as dangerous as “it has been since World War II.”

“On the climate change front, the danger may seem less immediate, but avoiding catastrophic temperature increases in the long run require urgent attention now. The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said.

For the scientist, the midnight represents the destruction of the entire world – which actually might be caused by humans.

The farthest it’s been from Doomsday Cold War ended in 1991. Back then, the clock was 17 minutes to midnight.

Source: ABC News