Former California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks after unveiling the Doomsday Clock during The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists news conference in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks after unveiling the Doomsday Clock during The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists news conference in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Doomsday Clock moves closest to midnight in 73-year history

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves clock to 100 seconds to midnight

The keepers of the Doomsday Clock on Thursday moved the symbolic countdown to global disaster to the closest point to midnight in its 73-year history, citing “existential danger” from nuclear war and climate change.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which was founded after the creation of the atomic bomb in World War II and focuses on the greatest threats to human survival, said it moved the clock from two minutes to midnight to 100 seconds to midnight — a 20-second advance.

The decision was made by the group’s science and security board, in consultations with its board of sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates.

In a statement accompanying the clock’s advance, the organization said the nuclear and climate dangers “are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare that undercuts society’s ability to respond.”

“The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode,” it said.

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds — not hours, or even minutes.”

“We now face a true emergency — an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay,” she said.

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, the Bulletin’s executive chairman, warned that “dangerous rivalry and hostility among the superpowers increases the likelihood of nuclear blunder.”

“Climate change just compounds the crisis,” he said. “If there’s ever a time to wake up, it’s now.”

READ MORE: Trump lauds U.S. economy in Davos, while Thunberg slams elites

The Doomsday Clock didn’t move in 2019 but in 2018 it advanced by 30 seconds from 2 1/2 minutes before midnight to two minutes to midnight.

As the symbolic clock was moved on Thursday, the Bulletin’s experts were joined by former Irish President Mary Robinson who now leads The Elders, a group of prominent former world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, and ex-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, now deputy chairman of The Elders.

Ban said that from the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal to deadlock at nuclear disarmament talks and divisions in the U.N. Security Council, “our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most.”

Robinson called on world leaders to join in working “to pull humanity back from the brink.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Climate changeNuclear weapons

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP investigated after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Woodgrove Centre, Nanaimo RCMP investigating

Officers have searched areas of the mall accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

Quitting smoking can start with becoming a non-smoker for just a day, says medical director of community health in Nanaimo. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Plenty of support available to help people quit smoking

Doctor urges smokers to try to become non-smokers for a day tomorrow, Weedless Wednesday

Vancouver Island University. (File photo)
Province announces funding for VIU to train mental health workers

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

The City of Nanaimo’s Community Services Building at 285 Prideaux St., where the 7-10 Club is located, will host a warming centre seven days a week through March 31. (City of Nanaimo photo)
Warming centres for people experiencing homelessness open today in Nanaimo

City of Nanaimo and social agencies partnering on Wallace and Prideaux locations

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

Paige Karczynski is the new executive director of Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. (Photo submitted)
New executive director leading Nanaimo hospice at a time when grief counselling is greatly needed

Paige Karczynski takes over as Nanaimo Community Hospice Society begins its 40th year

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Most Read