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Science PopWrapped | Science

It's Three Minutes Until Midnight On The Doomsday Clock

Faeriesun | PopWrapped Author

Faeriesun

01/29/2016 7:04 am
PopWrapped | Science
It's Three Minutes Until Midnight On The Doomsday Clock | Doomsday Clock
Media Courtesy of End of More

It is still three minutes to midnight on the Doomsday Clock.  The time on the clock was not changed and according to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which monitors the clock, this is a bad sign indeed.

The Doomsday Clock is a metaphorical clock that used to monitor humanity’s march to global destruction.  Since 1947 the clock has been monitored by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board.  While some will say the clock is hokum, it is not grounded in pseudo-science.   The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been around since 1945 and was formed by members of the Manhattan Project team.  The group is advised by a team that includes 18 Nobel Laureates.  The original purpose of the clock was to monitor the global threat of nuclear war, but has since been updated to include other variables such as climate change. 

So what does three minutes to midnight mean?  In short, if humanity doesn’t wake up soon, we’re screwed.  Not just a little screwed, but proper screwed.  This is the closest it has been to midnight since 1984 when Cold War tensions had the planet on edge.  According to the statement on the Bulletin's website:

In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.

The members go on to say that the choice to keep the hands at three minutes to midnight is an expression of "dismay" and the belief that world leaders will continue to fail in their jobs of keeping a safe and healthy planet.  They point out that the United States and Russia have moved on plans to "modernize their nuclear triads—thereby undermining existing nuclear weapons treaties" and other countries are now joining in on the party.  Climate change and rising global temperatures are also great areas of concern.  They made note of the fact that, by the end of the century, the global temperature could rise by as much as eight degrees Celsius.  For perspective, that is the same temperature increase that brought us out of the last Ice Age and radically altered the planet.

While the Bulletin points to overall "stunning governmental failures" as being the root cause of much of planet's peril, they did offer up an action plan for the righting the global ship:

  • Take actions that would cap greenhouse gas emissions 

    at levels sufficient to keep average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

  • Dramatically reduce proposed spending on nuclear weapons modernization programs. 

  • Re-energize the disarmament process, with a focus on results. 

  • Deal now with the commercial nuclear waste problem. 

  • Create institutions specifically assigned to explore and address potentially catastrophic misuses of new technologies.

These are actions the members feel need to be taken quickly and with the utmost urgency and priority.  If their warnings are not heeded then there will be nothing left to worry about  because there will be no one left to do the worrying.

 

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