Doomsday Clock ticks closer to ka-boom, as scientists warn ‘global danger looms’

'Humanity is on the brink of doom,' top scientists warn
Since 1947, the Doomsday Clock has been symbolised the dangers to the human race.

The end is nigh? According to an influential group of atomic scientists, it’s certainly a little closer.

Scientists have moved the hands of the so-called Doomsday Clock closer to midnight, after judging that the threats to humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change and cyber-technology are growing.

The symbolic clock, which is administered by the non-profit Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, was designed in 1947 to allow major thinkers to alert the public on how close humans are to destroying the world with dangerous technologies. Those thinkers include 15 Nobel Laureates.

The minute hand of the clock was originally set at seven minutes to midnight and has been moved 21 times since 1947 – the first time in 1949 when the Soviet Union successfully tested its first atomic bomb, when it was moved to three minutes to midnight.

Yesterday’s reset, the first since 2015, put the minute hand at two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, the closest the world has been judged to be near disaster since 1953, after the US and Russia both tested their first hydrogen bombs.

The furthest the world has been from doom was in 1991, when the minute hand was at 17 minutes to midnight to reflect the end of the Cold War.

The latest move is a sign of the darkening “global security landscape,” the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists explains in a statement.

“The United States and Russia … remained at odds in a variety of theatres … North Korea conducted its fourth and fifth underground nuclear tests … Threats of nuclear warfare hung in the background as Pakistan and India faced each other warily across the Line of Control,” the statement says.

Meanwhile, the world “continues to warm,” and the “strident nationalism” that emerged in several countries, including in the US with the election victory of Donald Trump, added to the “already threatening world situation.”

“It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way,” the statement concludes.

Does the world feel riskier to you right now? Are you concerned about increasingly tense geopolitical relations? Or is the Doomsday Clock and warnings like it just scaremongering?

  1. LD  

    Scaremongering, in my life time (60 yrs) there have been at least 7 end of all life as we know it events, all been and gone, numerous predictions (Nostradamus) (Revelations) about the end of the world in my lifetime so far. Fact is, if all life did end abruptly, we wouldn’t know about it, because we would be all dead. SO forget the dire warnings, live life to the fullest and enjoy.

  2. Robyn McLeod  

    Oh bugger of really over the crap you put out😡 Go and find something else to do

  3. Robin Henry  

    The one good thing about nuclear warhead stocks is that they act as a deterrent. Anyone who starts a nuclear strike on a nuclear powered country knows it’s a lose, lose situation. Both countries stand a chance of being annihilated.

    The main protagonists in this debate are North Korea run by a madman and Iran run by Islamic psychopaths. Either country is probably stupid enough to commence a nuclear war. Had Hilary Clinton been elected, there would probably have been a higher chance of a war with Russia, but I doubt if Russia is stupid enough to use it’s nuclear arsenal.

    The Earth and all of us who live here could just as equally be wiped out by a massive solar flare, a reduction in the sun’s activity, or a huge planet colliding with us. Some say the scientists meddling with particles at the CERN hadron collider could cause a catastrophic situation that would turn the Earth into a black hole.

    I’ll still have a glass of red tonight and if any of those events happen, I probably won’t be too concerned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *