The boffins who run the Doomsday Clock – an estimate of how close humanity is to annihilation by climate change or nuclear war - have just moved the minute hand one minute closer to midnight.
Invented by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) in 1947, the clock represents nuclear danger with midnight representing the end of humanity as we know it. The terrifying device was set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947 and veered to two minutes in 1952 after the testing of the hydrogen bomb. It was pushed back to 17 minutes in 1991 when the US and Russia started to reduce their nuke arsenals.
The reasons for pushing the clock forward from six to five include the failure of the US and China to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the energy crisis that the boffins foresee as the developing world booms and demands more energy and resources:
Faced with clear and present dangers of nuclear proliferation and climate change, and the need to find sustainable and safe sources of energy, world leaders are failing to change business as usual. Inaction on key issues including climate change, and rising international tensions motivate the movement of the clock.
The decision was evaluated by a symposium of scientists evaluating recent events and trends for the future of humanity.
Happy 2012. ®