The end of the world is closer than it’s ever been, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. On 23 January, the Bulletin moved the hands of its Doomsday Clock 20 seconds forward.
The clock, which symbolises how close humanity is to destruction, is now only 100 seconds to midnight.
Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, said: ‘We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay.’
The Bulletin identified three worsening factors:
- the nuclear arms race, less and less contained by arms control treaties;
- climate change, where there has been only ‘limited political response’; and
- government cyber-based disinformation campaigns that have sown ‘distrust in institutions and among nations’
According to the Bulletin, ‘The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.’
The Bulletin urged world leaders to take concrete positive steps to turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. These included the reinstatement of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the extension of ‘New START’, which limits the number of US and Russian nuclear missile launchers, beyond 2021.