Society

Doomsday Clock Is Closest To Midnight Since 1953

| by Oren Peleg

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has pushed the Doomsday Clock closer to Midnight during a Jan. 26 event. The Clock, which has been at three minutes to midnight since 2015, now stands at two-and-a-half minutes to midnight.

"Factors influencing the 2017 deliberations regarding any adjustment that may be made to the Doomsday Clock include: a rise in strident nationalism worldwide, President Donald Trump's comments on nuclear arms and climate issues prior to his inauguration on January 20th, a darkening global security landscape that is colored by increasingly sophisticated technology, and a growing disregard for scientific expertise," the group wrote in a statement, according to The Hill.

"The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," then-President-elect Donald Trump tweeted on Dec. 22, 2016.

According to Salon, Trump then called in to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Dec. 23 and clarified his tweet. “Let it be an arms race," Trump said. "We will outmatch them at every pass.”

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“I lived through the tense and dangerous early to mid-1980s; it’s the reason I made understanding, controlling and eliminating nuclear weapons my career,” Stephen Schwartz, nuclear weapons policy expert and former executive director of the Bulletin, told the Los Angeles Times. “I have no desire to go backward to that era.”

The clock's current reading is the second closest to midnight it has come since its creation in 1947. The clock has only been closer to midnight in 1953, when it stood at two minutes to midnight.

"Facts are stubborn things and they must be taken into account if the future of humanity is to be preserved," said Lawrence Krauss, a physicist and board member of the Bulletin, notes NPR. "President Trump and President Putin, who claim great respect for each other, can choose to act together as statesmen, or act as petulant children, risking our future."  

Sources: The Hill, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Donald Trump/Twitter, NPR / Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

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