Doomsday clock at TWO minutes to midnight scientists warn

Doomsday clock set up to reveal how close Earth is to a global apocalypse remains at just TWO minutes to midnight as scientists warn of ‘new abnormal’ with twin threats from climate change and nuclear weapons

  • The clock serves as a metaphor for global apocalypse
  • Scientists behind it warned ‘We appear to be normalising a very dangerous world in terms of the risks of nuclear war and climate change’ 

The Doomsday Clock will remain at two minutes to midnight for the second year running, scientists have announced. 

The clock, which serves as a metaphor for global apocalypse, was moved forward by 30 seconds to two minutes before midnight by the clock’s keepers in January 2018.

The announcement on Thursday means the clock remains the closest to midnight it has ever been, with the last time it was set to this time in 1953. 

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry unveil the Doomsday Clock during The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists news conference in Washington The Doomsday Clock is set at two minutes to Midnight.

WHAT IS THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK? 

The clock serves as a metaphor for global apocalypse.

It has wavered between two and 17 minutes until the apocalypse since its inception in 1947 by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which was founded by veterans of the Manhattan Project who were concerned about the consequences of their nuclear research. 

The scientists regularly produced a bulletin detailing progress and updates in nuclear weapon development,  and the clock was designed as an illustration for the cover of the first edition. 

 

 

Rachel Bronson, president and chief executive of the The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists, said the world had entered the ‘period of the new abnormal’. 

She added: ‘This is unsustainable and unsettling. 

‘We appear to be normalising a very dangerous world in terms of the risks of nuclear war and climate change. 

‘This new abnormal is simply too volatile and too dangerous to accept. 

‘Recognising this grim reality we would like to announce it is still two minutes to midnight, remaining the closest to midnight the clock has sever been set.’

The countdown was established in 1947 by experts from The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists who were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb. 

The bulletin is an independent non-profit organisation run by some of the world’s most eminent scientists. 

Originally intended to warn of the threat of nuclear armageddon, the Doomsday Clock also takes into account the likelihood of other emerging threats such as climate change and advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence. 


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Former California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks after unveiling the Doomsday Clock during The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists news conference in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. The Doomsday Clock is set at two minutes to Midnight.

Former California Governor Jerry Brown, executive chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: ‘Humanity faces two dire and simultaneous existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change. 

‘The longer world leaders and citizens thoughtlessly inhabit this abnormal reality, the more likely it is that we will experience the unthinkable.’ 

In a statement, the team said in 2019 humanity faced two ‘existential threats’ through nuclear weapons and climate. 

It added: ‘Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention. 

‘These major threats – nuclear weapons and climate change – were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilisation in extraordinary danger.’ 

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry speaks after unveiling the Doomsday Clock during The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists news conference in Washington. He said: ‘It’s a state as worrisome as the most dangerous times of the Cold War’

It also said that the world community had last year ‘failed dismally’ to halt the worst effects of climate change in terms of cutting net worldwide carbon emissions. 

It added: ‘To halt the worst effects of climate change, the countries of the world must cut net worldwide carbon dioxide emissions to zero by well before the end of the century. By such a measure, the world community failed dismally last year.’ 

Over the years the clock’s hands have moved forwards and backwards as the threats to the world changed. 

In 2015, the clock was jumped forward by two minutes, taking it to three minutes to midnight. 

It remained unchanged in 2016. 

In 2017, the clock was set two-and-a-half-minutes to midnight. Last year it was moved once again to two minutes to midnight. 

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry said: ‘The current international security situation—what we call the ‘new abnormal’—has extended over two years now. 

‘It’s a state as worrisome as the most dangerous times of the Cold War, a state that features a constantly shifting landscape of simmering disputes that keep the world unsettled and multiply the chances that major military conflict will erupt. 

‘Brash leaders, intense diplomatic disputes, and regional instabilities combine to create an international context in which nuclear dangers are all too real.’ 

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