The Doomsday Clock remains at three minutes to midnight in 2016. The board, which includes 16 Nobel Laureates, says the conflicts around the world are to be blamed for this, despite the positive achievements in 2015, putting us right where we were in January 2015.
Operated by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Doomsday Clock symbolizes how close humanity is from catastrophe. The closer the Clock gets to midnight, the more likely an apocalyptic disaster will occur.
Recent progress in the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate summit comprise only a small portion that is not enough to offset other potentials for a catastrophe. Increasing tensions between Russia and the US, war in Syria and Ukraine and recent North Korea’s nuclear test caused this to remain at 11:57, the closest it has been to midnight since the Cold War in 1984.
The board points out that the decision to not touch the Clock is not good news. This shows that world leaders fail to direct their efforts and the world’s attention to decrease the danger that may arise from the use of nuclear weapons and climate change.
The current tension between the US and Russia is similar to the Cold War. This has been echoed in Syria and the rise of terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Boko Haram.
Climate change will lead to the destruction of life. Nations are threatened by the rising sea levels as well as growing scarcity food resources and the rise of new types of bacteria or viruses, which may be invincible to treatments.
Another concern for the Bulletin is the advancement in genetics and biology. Scientists warn that this could easily backfire, suggesting that the knowledge could find its way to the wrong hands that may inflict harm to the world through biological weapons.
The BAS designed the Doomsday Clock to warn the public about the dangers of nuclear expansion following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1953, the clock was set at only two minutes to midnight when the US and the Soviet Union tested hydrogen bombs, marking the closest the Doomsday Clock got to midnight.