Thursday, 27 February, 2020

Doomsday Clock reset to 100 seconds to midnight

Doomsday’ clock moves closer to midnight the closest we’ve been to ‘destroying our world Doomsday’ clock moves closer to midnight the closest we’ve been to ‘destroying our world
Travis Berry | 24 January, 2020, 00:22

Astrophysicist Robert Rosner, who also sits on the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said "the fact that the clock is now a mere 100 seconds from midnight signals really bad news". But we seem to be missing something kind of important for a species - we don't appear to be too concerned about self-destruction.

The closer the clock moves to the top of the hour, the more likely a global disaster could occur that would wipe out humanity, according to the scientists.

In a live-streamed presentation (above), which took place in Washington D.C., members of the Bulletin, as well as members of The Elders (an NGO made up of "independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights" founded by Nelson Mandela), discussed the multitude of reasons the clock has been moved ahead from its 2019 position of two minutes to midnight.

"At a time when world leaders should be focused on the clear and present dangers of nuclear escalation and the climate emergency. we are instead witnessing denial, disregard and unsafe brinksmanship", former United Nations secretary-general and deputy chair of The Elders Ban Ki-moon said.

The clock takes into account issues such as the threat of risky weapons, like technology and nuclear missiles, the political climate and climate change.

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It was created in 1947, and at that point, the greatest danger to humanity came from nuclear weapons, in particular from the prospect that the United States and the Soviet Union were headed for a nuclear arms race.

Since 2007, climate change has been a factor in the groups' decisions. They find the global security situation "dire", compounded by the fact that "leaders have allowed the worldwide political infrastructure for managing [threats] to erode".

After summarizing the Bulletin's warnings in a statement Thursday, Brown concluded: "If there's ever a time to wake up, it's now". The scientists specifically called out how 2019 saw the end of "several major arms control treaties and negotiations", while "political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening". Just the same, governmental action on climate change still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand.

Few concrete plans to further limit carbon dioxide emissions are being put forward despite one of the warmest years on record, extensive wildfires, and quicker-than-expected melting of glacial ice. "In the a year ago, many governments used cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns to sow distrust in institutions and among nations, undermining domestic and worldwide efforts to foster peace and protect the planet". The U.S. and Russian Federation could come back to the arms control negotiating table and reduce the risk of a nuclear arms race.

'In democracies, we try to encourage people to talk to their political representatives that these huge investments that are going into nuclear arsenals might be directed elsewhere.

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