Doomsday Clock Is Set at 2 Minutes to Midnight, Closest Since 1950s

Doomsday Clock Is Set at 2 Minutes to Midnight, Closest Since 1950s

The Doomsday Clock, a potent symbol of scientific concerns about humanity’s possible annihilation, was advanced by 30 seconds on Thursday, to 2 minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced in Washington.

The last time the clock was moved so close to midnight was in 1953, during the Cold War.

“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,” the bulletin’s science and security board, which oversees the clock, said in a statement.

It cited the risks from North Korea’s nuclear program; discord between Russia and the United States; tensions in the South China Sea; the buildup of the nuclear arsenals of Pakistan and India; and uncertainty over the Iran nuclear deal.

The scientists also warned that the sustained reductions in greenhouse gases needed to prevent disastrous warming of the planet had not yet occurred and cited the dangers that technology disruption is causing for democracies, including disinformation campaigns intended to manipulate elections and undermine confidence in democracy.

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