The hands of the Doomsday Clock have been moved closer to midnight on Thursday. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, they did this due to increasing threat of nuclear weapons and climate change. The scientists now moved the clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, leaving it just 2 ½ minutes away. This is the closest it has ever been to midnight since 1953, the year when the hydrogen bomb was tested.
The scientists move the hands each year, basing their decisions on the events of the previous year that brought humanity nearer or further from destruction. They blame the political climate, the nuclear threat as well as worsening effects of climate change.
“This year’s Clock deliberations felt more urgent than usual…as trusted sources of information came under attack, fake news was on the rise, and words were used by a President-elect of the United States in cavalier and often reckless ways to address the twin threats of nuclear weapons and climate change,” said Rachel Bronson in a statement, USA Today reports. She is the executive director and publisher of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Until now, there has not been one person that prompted the scientists to decide to move the hands closer midnight. However, David Titley and Lawrence M. Krauss of the Bulletin Science and Security Board said that if that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.
The scientists said that Trump’s statements on nuclear weapons and his opinion on climate change had them worried. They added that the Trump administration should not deny that human activity contributed to climate change.
“Current political situation in the U.S. is of particular concern,” explained Titley. “The Trump administration needs to state clearly, unequivocally it accepts climate change caused by human activity…There are no alternative facts here.” In 2016, the scientists moved the Doomsday clock’s hands three minutes from midnight. In 2015, they moved it at five minutes from midnight.