The Doomsday Clock on the cover of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has been ticked ahead two minutes, to show five minutes to midnight — a reflection of how close the world is to destruction by nuclear war.
Except, this time it’s not just nuclear weapons exchanges that figure into the ticking of the Doomsday timepiece: Climatic change is also considered.
“Not since the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has the world faced such perilous choices,” she [executive director Kennette Benedict] said. “North Korea’s recent test of a nuclear weapon, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a renewed emphasis on the military utility of nuclear weapons, the failure to adequately secure nuclear materials, and the continued presence of some 26,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia, are symptomatic of a failure to solve the problems posed by some the most destructive technology on Earth.”
She said this time, nuclear annihilation is not the scientists’ only concern.
“The dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons,” she added. “The effects may be less dramatic in the short term, than the destruction that could be wrought by nuclear explosions, but over the next three to four decades, climate change could cause irremediable harm to the habitats upon which human societies depend for survival.”