Doomsday Clock Tick-Tocks Closer to Midnight, Sparking Concern Among Scientists

Jan 29, 2017, 00:24

"Make no mistake, this has been a hard year", said executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Rachel Bronson during Thursday's announcement of the clock's new setting.

The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock, which indicates how close the world's leading scientists think we are from destroying the planet, was moved forward to two and a half minutes to midnight, ABC news reported on Thursday.

The first week of Trump's Presidency was marked by an abundance of warnings amidst a flurry of executive orders that seemed created to deliver on Trump's campaign promises. It reached two minutes to midnight in 1953 after the United States detonated its first thermonuclear bomb and Russian Federation detonated a hydrogen bomb. The timepiece, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and displayed on its website, is widely viewed as an indicator of the world's vulnerability to disaster. From left to right are theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering and retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral David Titley. It was moved to 2 minutes to midnight. It is the second closest it has been. By comparison, in 1991, the hands were set to 17 minutes away, reflecting the perceived end of the Cold War in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

"This year's clock deliberations felt more urgent than usual, as trusted sources of information came under attack, fake news was on the rise - and words were used by a President-elect of the United States in cavalier and often reckless ways to address the twin threats of nuclear weapons and climate change", said Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Scientists here have announced that the world is rushing towards the doomsday, partly because of the "words and actions" of US President Donald Trump, a media report said. Other factors that contributed to the time change included uncertainty over the future of the Iran nuclear deal, North Korea's steady nuclear weapons development program, and the crumbling relationship between the US and Russia, Krauss and Titley said. Now that the ex-reality TV star serves as the leader of the free world, scientists contend that what comes flying out his mouth (and Twitter fingers) matter more than ever.

The group includes esteemed Professors who teach at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and other top worldwide Universities in a variety of fields, focusing on nuclear science, nuclear nonproliferation, global politics, astrophysics, particle physics, public health, cyber policy, as well as climate and environmental studies.

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