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Two minutes to midnight

Doomsday clock still 'closest it has ever been to apocalypse'

The world remains as dangerous as it’s ever been. On 24 January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board revealed that its famous Doomsday Clock remained set at two minutes to midnight, ‘the closest it has ever been to apocalypse’.

The clock setting was designed to highlight ‘an unacceptable reality that remains largely unrecognized by the public at large: The future of the world is now in extreme danger from multiple intersecting and potentially existential threats.’

The board warned: ‘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 civilization in extraordinary danger.’

On nuclear weapons, the board noted that ‘the United States abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and announced it would withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), grave steps towards a complete dismantlement of the global arms control process.’

On climate, the Bulletin warned: ‘Even nations that have strongly supported the need to decarbonize are not doing enough. Preliminary estimates show that almost all countries contributed to the rise in emissions’ last year.