28/01/2017

Doomsday Clock Ticks Closest To Midnight In 64 Years Due To Climate Change, Nuclear Fears, Donald Trump Election

ABC News - Reuters

The clock was last set this close to midnight in 1953. (Reuters: Jim Bourg)
Scientists have reset their symbolic Doomsday Clock to its closest time to midnight in 64 years, saying the world is closer to catastrophe due to threats such as nuclear weapons, climate change and Donald Trump's election as US President.
Key points:
  • The Doomsday Clock's hands have been moved to two minutes and 30 seconds from midnight
  • The symbolic clock has not been as close to midnight since 1953
  • Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss says Trump, Putin largely responsible for shift
The timepiece, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and displayed on its website, is widely viewed as an indicator of the world's vulnerability to disaster.
Its hands were moved to two minutes and 30 seconds to midnight, from three minutes.
"The Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than it's ever been in the lifetime of almost everyone in this room," Lawrence Krauss, the bulletin's chair, told a news conference in Washington.
The clock was last set this close to midnight in 1953, marking the start of the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Thursday's reset was the first since 2015.

Trump and Putin largely responsible for shift
Professor Krauss, a theoretical physicist, said Mr Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin carried a large share of the blame for the heightened threat.
The bulletin cited nuclear volatility, especially as the United States and Russia seek to modernise their atomic arsenals and remain at odds in war-torn countries such as Syria and Ukraine.
Scientists said Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin carried a large share of the blame for the heightened threat. (Reuters: Kremlin)
Mr Trump has suggested South Korea and Japan could acquire nuclear weapons to compete with North Korea, which has conducted nuclear tests.
Mr Trump has also raised doubts about the future of a multilateral nuclear pact with Iran.
Chinese aid to Pakistan in the nuclear weapons field, as well as the expansion of India and Pakistan's nuclear arsenals, were also worrisome, the bulletin said in a statement.
The climate change outlook was somewhat less dismal, "but only somewhat."
While nations had taken actions to combat climate change, the bulletin noted, there appeared to be little appetite for additional cuts to carbon dioxide emissions.
It said the Trump administration nominees raised the possibility the government will be "openly hostile to progress toward even the most modest efforts to avert catastrophic climate disruption."
The world also faces cyber threats, the bulletin said. US intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russia intervened in the presidential election to help Mr Trump raised the possibility of similar attacks on other democracies, it said.
The bulletin was founded by scientists who helped develop the United States' first atomic weapons. Its Science and Security Board decides on the clock's hands in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes Nobel laureates.

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