On the 25th January 2018 the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 2 minutes to midnight. This was largely due to the failure of world leaders in 2017 to address the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change coupled with the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board believes the perilous world security situation just described would, in itself, justify moving the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.
But there has also been a breakdown in the international order that has been dangerously exacerbated by recent US actions. In 2017, the United States backed away from its long-standing leadership role in the world, reducing its commitment to seek common ground and undermining the overall effort toward solving pressing global governance challenges. Neither allies nor adversaries have been able to reliably predict US actions—or understand when US pronouncements are real, and when they are mere rhetoric. International diplomacy has been reduced to name-calling, giving it a surreal sense of unreality that makes the world security situation ever more threatening.
Because of the extraordinary danger of the current moment, the Science and Security Board today moves the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to catastrophe. It is now two minutes to midnight—the closest the Clock has ever been to Doomsday, and as close as it was in 1953, at the height of the Cold War.
The Science and Security Board hopes this resetting of the Clock will be interpreted exactly as it is meant—as an urgent warning of global danger. The time for world leaders to address looming nuclear danger and the continuing march of climate change is long past. The time for the citizens of the world to demand such action is now:
– Your Joyful Benefactor
Image Source: Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press
Robert Rosner (right), chairman of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, joined by Bulletin member Lawrence Krauss, moves the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight.