Science

Doomsday Clock creeps ever closer to midnight

Doomsday Clock creeps ever clo...
The Doomsday Clock has been set to 100 seconds to midnight
The Doomsday Clock has been set to 100 seconds to midnight
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The Doomsday Clock has been set to 100 seconds to midnight
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The Doomsday Clock has been set to 100 seconds to midnight
The rise of "cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns" is one of the factors which caused the Doomsday Clock to move closer to midnight
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The rise of "cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns" is one of the factors which caused the Doomsday Clock to move closer to midnight
Worsening nuclear threat is cited as one reason for the Doomsday Clock's minute hand to move 20 seconds closer to midnight
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Worsening nuclear threat is cited as one reason for the Doomsday Clock's minute hand to move 20 seconds closer to midnight
A NASA heatmap highlights the areas that have experienced the largest increases in warming over the average in the last few years
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A NASA heatmap highlights the areas that have experienced the largest increases in warming over the average in the last few years
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Every year, the scientist world watchers at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists update the status of its Doomsday Clock, a metaphor for how near humanity is to meeting a catastrophic end. The closer to midnight that the minute hand moves, the bigger the threat. And the 2020 clock is the most dire warning to date.

In 1945, scientists from the University of Chicago who were involved in the development of the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project launched the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Two years later the group created the Doomsday Clock as an indicator of the threat level to humanity and the world we inhabit.

It has since become a symbol of our "vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies in other domains" that's recognized the world over. And every year, a decision is made on what to do with the minute hand on the countdown clock – move it closer to zero, to leave it where it is, or move it back.

Worsening nuclear threat is cited as one reason for the Doomsday Clock's minute hand to move 20 seconds closer to midnight
Worsening nuclear threat is cited as one reason for the Doomsday Clock's minute hand to move 20 seconds closer to midnight

The clock's minute hand started at seven minutes to midnight in 1947. Nuclear weapons development pushed it forward during the remainder of the 40s and early 50s, but the arms race showed signs of slowing in the 1960s, resulting in the minute hand going back as far as 12 minutes to midnight. And it's been a similar up and down picture ever since, with the Doomsday Clock managing to display 17 minutes to midnight in the early 1990s. Good times.

As we entered the 21st century though, the annual trend has been nudging ever closer to potential catastrophe. In 2015, as it set the minute hand to three minutes to midnight, the Science and Security Board at the Bulletin noted that "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."

A call to the people to take action if politicians failed to act came in 2017, as the Bulletin declared that it was two and a half minutes to midnight. World leaders were again chastised for lack of action in 2018 – two minutes to midnight – and again last year, though there was no movement in the minute hand.

And now – 75 years after the first issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – the Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than ever before, standing at 100 seconds before the bong signals the end.

This year's statement notes that we continue to face the simultaneous threats of nuclear war and climate crisis, but also recognizes that the flames are being fanned by the increased used of "cyber-enabled information warfare."

A NASA heatmap highlights the areas that have experienced the largest increases in warming over the average in the last few years
A NASA heatmap highlights the areas that have experienced the largest increases in warming over the average in the last few years

Though climate crisis awareness grew in 2019, helped along by climate strikes by young people across the globe, appropriate action by world leaders has been sadly lacking, with the US even threatening to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement. Yet the last decade has been shown to be the warmest since records began in the 1880s, wildfires have raged in the Amazon, Australia, Siberia, Indonesia and California, and glaciers are melting away at an alarming rate.

The scientific observers also draw attention to the ending – or undermining – of several arms control treaties and negotiations during 2019, "creating an environment conducive to a renewed nuclear arms race, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to lowered barriers to nuclear war."

We live in an age where many of us can access the world's knowledge databank using a device in our pockets, but a sharp increase in the spread of disinformation through digital means of late is "undermining domestic and international efforts to foster peace and protect the planet."

The rise of "cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns" is one of the factors which caused the Doomsday Clock to move closer to midnight
The rise of "cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns" is one of the factors which caused the Doomsday Clock to move closer to midnight

"This situation – two major threats to human civilization, amplified by sophisticated, technology-propelled propaganda – would be serious enough if leaders around the world were focused on managing the danger and reducing the risk of catastrophe," reads the Bulletin's statement. "Instead, over the last two years, we have seen influential leaders denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats – international agreements with strong verification regimes – in favor of their own narrow interests and domestic political gain. By undermining cooperative, science- and law-based approaches to managing the most urgent threats to humanity, these leaders have helped to create a situation that will, if unaddressed, lead to catastrophe, sooner rather than later."

By moving the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight than ever before, the Bulletin's board members – in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates – are essentially declaring a global state of emergency and calling on the citizens and leaders of the world to take immediate action.

"The Bulletin believes that human beings can manage the dangers posed by the technology that humans create," said the Bulletin's President and CEO, Rachel Bronson, PhD. "The moment demands attention and new, creative responses. If decision makers continue to fail to act – pretending that being inside two minutes is no more urgent than the preceding period – citizens around the world should rightfully echo the words of climate activist Greta Thunberg and ask: How dare you?”

Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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17 comments
peter mcloughlin
Stopping nuclear war is equally important as reversing climate change. The prospect of extinction from nuclear winter is as horrific as the prospect of extinction from global warming. Few think seriously about the danger of nuclear holocaust. Governments are not heeding the warning of history.
Nobody
Who do you vote for when they ALL lie????????????
richard burcik
On January 20, 2020 NASA and NOAA released the temperature data for the US which showed that from 2012 through 2019 the average surface temperature for our nation fell by 2.6 degrees C. Of course, this fact went widely unreported by the Main Stream Media which is almost entirely committed to environmental alarmism. This is very sad.
Admittedly, most climatologists believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) but most astrophysicists insist that our Sun is the main driver of any warming and these solar scientists have asserted that the Earth will be cooling over the coming years due to a Grand Solar Minimum which begins this year. The last IPPC report asserts that CO2 is the cause of over 50% of the warming since 1850 but Prof. Judith Curry contends that CO2 is the cause of less than 50% of the historic warming.Recently, Prof. Nir Shaviv has contended that our Sun has driven about 67% of our planet's recent warming while AGW has accounted for at most 33% of the recent increase in the average worldwide temperature. Subsequently, a Finnish paper (that has yet to be accepted for publication) asserted that humans accounted for at most 10% of any warming. In July 2019 Prof. Hyodo of Kyoto University and his team of investigators reported in a top scholarly peer-reviewed scientific journal (Nature) that AGW accounted for very little of any recent warming. They instead suggested that the "cloud umbrella effect" was the major contributor to an increase in temperature. Next, in August of 2019, a paper by Prof. Wu of China's National Academy of Science and her team was accepted for publication in an important peer-reviewed journal and this research found no evidence of any human-induced warming. Their research confirmed the findings of an earlier 2014 scholarly paper.
Then in September of 2019, a letter signed by over 700 climate experts was delivered to the UN Secretary-General insisting that "NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY EXISTS" (emphasis in the original). Interestingly, this letter came to life in Italy and most of the signatories are from Europe. Couple this with the 145 US "deniers" and the size of the entire group becomes very compelling.
Next, in an October paper published in the scientific journal, "Geology", it was reported that climate change and ocean acidification has occurred before the appearance of hominoids on our planet.It is quite revealing that the climate alarmists readily depict (in graphic form) the correlation of the "temperature anomaly" with the concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere but they never produce a graph of the worldwide average temperature itself over the past 150 years. They avoid this compelling display because this graph (which they never show) would demonstrate a virtual flatline revealing almost no increase and thereby severely undermining their strident claims of a "climate emergency". Lastly, in November, five papers from the Federal University of Sao Paolo came to light which confirmed the veracity of this other research.
Thus, it is longer possible to rely on the mainstream media regarding the truth about climate change.
Based upon these very latest scientific findings the case for the claim of AGW is starting to crumble before your eyes. LINKSFor those who require links here are several:https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3022136/china-scientists-warn-global-cooling-trick-natures-sleevehttps://www.pnas.org/content/116/51/25369
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyyuouPSNEAagencia.fapesp.br/a-novel-method-for-analyzing-marine-sediments-contributes-to-paleoclimate-reconstitution/31850/https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019PA003691https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190703121407.htmhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4205841/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215299/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIDoMPIikoghttps://phys.org/news/2019-12-cooling-role-particulate-earth-stronger.htmlhttps://www.autoblog.com/2019/12/09/climate-change-policies-costly-company-value/“Calcium isotope evidence for environmental variability before and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction” by Benjamin J. Linzmeier, et. al. 28 October 2019, Geology.https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.00165.pdfhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX_nqbasMo0&t=163shttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_vpIVABNQIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2Bw52FjYi4https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB94hkuO4KQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S50_juP5S5Uhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_8xd0LCeRQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CijE6QvQClI
guzmanchinky
This clock is a waste of time (pun intended) and serves to stress people out, which makes them eat and consume even more...
nick101
Aiiieee! The end is nigh, again! Still! Same as it ever was!
Cryptonoetic
My clock says doomsday already occurred almost 30 years ago and since then humanity's been in a slo-mo death spiral that terminates with the final collapse of what's left of modern civilization in about another 20 years. Interestingly, humanity going tits-up ends up having nothing to do with nukes or AGW, but rather with something akin to mass insanity. Anyway, the death process appears to take a couple of generations and, short of some black-swan event like JC 2.0, it is systemically irreversible. So, everybody may as well relax and enjoy the show. Remember, Rome didn't die in a day.
Koolski
It's amazing to me that every scientist will agree that on planet X, it's sun, i.e. it's source of energy, is the primary influence of the surface temperature. But for planet Earth that doesn't apply. Instead humans, like cockroaches, have reproduced and are now influencing the planet's temperature! And the only way to fix it is to go back to the stone age. Of course this ignores times in pre-industrial history when we were warmer than we are now. How can we scientifically explain that? The big yellow thing in the sky dominates our weather too! I hope that it cools off enough in my life time to hear the leftist alarms cry again about the coming ice age!
aksdad
Aaaaand the doomsayers get attention from the press again despite their claims being no more rational or scientific than the space-alien-body-snatchers kooks. You would think they would have dialed back the global nuclear annihilation schtick after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and the disavowal of Mutual Assured Destruction as a U.S. defense policy, but no. They've turned it up to 11, because 10 isn't good enough. Next year it'll be 12. Or 13.
Daniel Grubb
Oooooooooh! The Doomsday Clock. Very scientific way to measure the odds of our impending doom.
Rusty Harris
That "clock" has now been taken over by the globalist "climate change/emergency/global warming" clowns that think man is responsible for "climate change". These smart scientist need to step outdoors during a clear day, and look up at that bright shiny object in the sky. THAT is what is responsible for the change of climate on our tiny little planet!
Sunspots/lack of and their CME's puking out into space, interacting with that protective magnetic bubble around our planet, affect the climate on this planet, short of an all out global thermonuclear war.