Scientists who maintain the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic countdown to global catastrophe, keep the clock at three minutes to midnight.
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 26, 2016) (REUTERS) – Continued threats from climate change and nuclear arsenals prompted the scientists who maintain the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic countdown to global catastrophe, to keep the clock at three minutes to midnight.
The Doomsday Clock, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, stands at three minutes to midnight, or doomsday.
It has been adjusted 18 times since its creation in 1947. It has been set as close as two minutes to midnight, in 1953 when the United States tested a hydrogen bomb, and as far as 17 minutes from midnight, in 1991 as the Cold War expired.
It was last adjusted in January 2015, when it was moved two minutes closer to midnight.
“In spite of some positive news, in particular the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord, nuclear tensions between the U.S. and Russia have grown, the situation in North Korea has become more acute, tensions between Pakistan and India remain high even as those countries increase their nuclear arsenals, and nuclear modernization programs in the U.S. and Russia violate the spirit, and I believe the letter, of the Nonproliferation Treaty,” Bulletin scientist Lawrence Krauss told a news conference.
The change was announced less than a week after U.S. scientists announced that 2015 was Earth’s hottest on record, fresh evidence that people are disrupting the climate by burning fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases into the air.
The Bulletin is a periodical founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project.