On Wednesday the “doomsday clock” ticked two minutes closer to midnight as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists assessed threats from nuclear proliferation and global warming. Meant to signify humanity’s proximity to a major global catastrophe, the clock is currently set to 11:55 p.m.
AP via Mercury News:
The world is nudging closer to nuclear or environmental apocalypse, a group of prominent scientists warned Wednesday as it pushed the hand of its symbolic Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.
The clock, which was set two minutes forward to 11:55, represents the likelihood of a global cataclysm. Its ticks have given the clock’s keepers a chance to speak out on the dangers they see threatening Earth.
It was the fourth time since the Soviet collapse in 1991 that the clock ticked forward amid fears over what the scientists describe as “a second nuclear age” prompted largely by standoffs with Iran and North Korea. But urgent warnings of climate change also played a role.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which sets the clock, was founded in 1945 as a newsletter distributed among nuclear physicists concerned about nuclear war, and midnight originally symbolized a widespread nuclear conflict. The bulletin has grown into an organization focused more generally on manmade threats to human civilization.