Doomsday clock moves forward 20 seconds bringing the apocalypse closer than ever before 


The Doomsday clock has ticked forwards 20 seconds and stands just 100 seconds to midnight – the closest in its 73-year history – due to increased nuclear tensions and climate change, bringing us closer to the apocalypse than ever before.

The clock was founded by the US scientists involved in the Manhattan Project that developed the world’s first nuclear weapons during World War 2.

It is a symbolic countdown designed to represent the time to a possible global catastrophe and is maintained by scientists including 16 Nobel laureates.

The group say the change – which is the closest the clock has ever been to the end of days – is due to the dual threats of nuclear war and climate change. 

They said if countries worked to resist arms races, limit warming by restricting fossil fuels and create new ‘norms of behaviour’, the clock hands could be pushed back. 

Former California Governor Jerry Brown, Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and Former United Nations Secretary General Bai Ki-Moon unveiled the new time. It has moved to 100 seconds to midnight due to the worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action and a rise of cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns are moving the clock hand forward

Former California Governor Jerry Brown, Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and Former United Nations Secretary General Bai Ki-Moon unveiled the new time. It has moved to 100 seconds to midnight due to the worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action and a rise of cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns are moving the clock hand forward

The threats of nuclear war and climate change are compounded by cyber-enabled information warfare, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Officials identified cyber-based disinformation as a major setback for society, saying such campaigns sow distrust in institutions and internationally among nations. 

They say cyber information warfare also undercuts society’s ability to respond in an emergency situation, multiplying the problem. 

Even during the height of the Cold War in the 1960s the clock was only at seven minutes to midnight – before 2000 it was rarely below five minutes to midnight.

Since the turn of the century the clock hasn’t gone above ten minutes to midnight and has got closer to midnight almost every year since 2015. 

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The Bulletin identified areas of change that could push the hands of the clock back including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin restraining from an ‘arms race’. 

Globally, all nations should publicly rededicate themselves to the Paris climate agreement,and the US and other parties involved in the Iran nuclear deal should work together to restrain nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.   

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (at podium) says the world is now 'on the brink' of destruction but can be saved through international cooperation

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (at podium) says the world is now ‘on the brink’ of destruction but can be saved through international cooperation

‘We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds – not hours, or even minutes,’ said Rachel Bronson, CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

‘We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay.’

Former California Governor Jerry Brown, executive chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said the time to wake up to global problems like climate change is now.

‘Dangerous rivalry and hostility among the superpowers increases the likelihood of nuclear blunder. Climate change just compounds the crisis,’ he said. 

The clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in life sciences.  

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists say that if world leaders like Donald Trump worked together to limit arms races we could see the clock hands go back again

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists say that if world leaders like Donald Trump worked together to limit arms races we could see the clock hands go back again

For the first time, experts from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists were joined in making the Doomsday Clock change by members of The Elders. 

Founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, The Elders are independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, deputy chair, The Elders, said there is a failure to address existential threats facing the world.

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‘From the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal, to deadlock at nuclear disarmament talks and division at the UN Security Council – our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most.’

The bulletin said the countries of the world should publicly rededicate themselves to Parish climate agreement to restrict warming. 

They also recommend the US and other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal working to restrain nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and creating international ‘norms of behaviour’ to improve trust. 

WHAT IS THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

What is the Doomsday Clock? 

The Doomsday Clock was created by the Bulletin, an independent non-profit organisation run by some of the world’s most eminent scientists.

It was founded by concerned US scientists involved in the Manhattan Project that developed the world’s first nuclear weapons during the Second World War.

In 1947 they established the clock to provide a simple way of demonstrating the danger to the Earth and humanity posed by nuclear war.

The Doomsday Clock now not only takes into account the likelihood of nuclear Armageddon but also other emerging threats such as climate change and advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

 It is symbolic and represents a countdown to possible global catastrophe.

The decision to move, or leave the clock alone, is made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in consultation with the bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes 16 Nobel laureates.

The clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in life sciences.

A Doomsday Clock symbolising the threat of apocalypse has moved closer to midnight, because of Donald Trump. Researchers who manage the clock announce the new 'time'.....

The Doomsday Clock was created by the Bulletin, an independent non-profit organisation run by some of the world’s most eminent scientists 

In 2015 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an expert group formed in 1945, adjusted the Doomsday Clock two minutes forward and took it to three minutes to midnight.

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That sent a message that the Earth was closer to oblivion than any time since the early days of hydrogen bomb testing and 1984, when US-Soviet relations reached ‘their iciest point in decades’.

The closest the clock has ever come to striking midnight was in 1953, when the time was set at two minutes to 12.

It was in that year that the US took the decision to upgrade its nuclear arsenal with the hydrogen bomb, ‘a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb’.

What does the time on the clock mean?

The announcement comes this afternoon at 3pm GMT (10am ET) and will be streamed live on the Doomsday Clock website. 

It is largely moved between two and ten minutes to midnight. During the 1990s it was at its safest. 

Many of the threats scientists identified last year have got worse this year.

The closer to midnight the clock moves the closer to annihilation humanity is. 

How has the clock changed since 1947?

1947 – 48: 7 minutes

1949 – 52: 3 minutes

1953 – 59: 2 minutes

1960 – 62: 7 minutes

1963 – 67: 12 minutes

1968: 7 minutes

1969 – 71: 10 minutes

1972 – 73: 12 minutes

1974 – 79: 9 minutes

1980: 7 minutes

1981 – 83: 4 minutes

1984 – 87: 3 minutes

1988 – 89: 6 minutes

1990: 10 minutes

1991 – 94: 17 minutes

1995 – 97: 14 minutes

1998 – 2001: 9 minutes

2002 – 06: 7 minutes

2007 – 09: 5 minutes

2010 – 11: 6 minutes

2012 – 14: 5 minutes

2015 – 16: 3 minutes

2017 – 2.5 minutes



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