The Doomsday Clock was moved forward on Tuesday to read 11:57, or three minutes until midnight. Midnight meaning the symbolic doom of the world.
Board members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have become frustrated with the snail’s pace at which world leaders have taken action against global warming and nuclear arms.
In response to this frustration, the scientists turned to the famous Doomsday Clock, a symbol which for years has attempted to warn the common man of the close proximity of a potentially catastrophic event.
This has been the first time in years that the group of scientists has taken action to move the clock. Since 2012, the clock had been fixed at five minutes to midnight.
“We are not saying it is too late to take action but the window for action is closing rapidly,” Kennette Benedict, executive director of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said of the Doomsday Clock. “We move the clock hand today to inspire action.”
In addition to some of the usual suspects that aren’t doing anything to shrink their stores of nuclear weapons, the United States, in one scientist’s opinion, is surprisingly complacent.
Sharon Squassoni, another board member in charge of the Doomsday Clock and director of the Proliferation Prevention Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the US has good intentions regarding nuclear policy. However, at the same time, we are in the midst of a $335 billion overhaul of our nuclear program.
“The risk from nuclear weapons is not that someone is going to press the button, but the existence of these weapons costs a lot of time, effort and money to keep them secure,” Squassoni said.
She also disclosed that there have been a troubling number of various safety discrepancies reported in recent years at power plants.
As far as environmental issues, Sivan Kartha, a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, says that if nothing is done to reduce the amount of heat-trapping gasses in Earth’s atmosphere, it could be five to 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by the end of this century.
That doesn’t seem like much, but over time, Kartha said that it will be enough to “radically transform” the Earth’s surface.
What do you think about scientists bumping forward the Doomsday Clock? Are you worried?