The Doomsday Clock is now only two minutes and thirty seconds from midnight, which is the closest it’s been in over 50 years, and the world has Donald Trump to thank. On Thursday, the Doomsday Clock was moved forward for the first time since 2015 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the organization that manages the apocalyptic warning system that predicts how close the human race is to its end, or metaphorical “midnight.” In an announcement livestreamed internationally beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST, the Bulletin minced few words when placing the fault for the decision to advance the clock almost entirely on the shoulders of Trump and his administration.
— BulletinOfTheAtomic (@BulletinAtomic) January 26, 2017
As The Daily Mail reports, Bulletin leaders David Titley and Lawrence Krauss blamed the 30-second adjustment to the Doomsday Clock on a world led by the new administration of Donald Trump, which they believe has refused to deal with both the scientific reality of man-made climate change and the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Those two issues have been determined by the organization that manages the Doomsday Clock to be the most pressing and threatening to the continued existence of humanity.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists added that today’s decision to move the Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds to the “latest” time it has been at since 1953, primarily due to the refusal of Donald Trump to acknowledge the existence of man-made climate change and his talk of employing nuclear weapons. According to the Bulletin, today’s decision and the factors that led to it are unprecedented.
“The United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts. Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”
According to the Bulletin, Donald Trump has sworn to negatively impact the progress the United States and the world have made with regard to both nuclear arms and climate change. In fact, as CNBC reports, Trump has ordered the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to eliminate the critical climate change page from its government-sanctioned website. The order to remove the climate change page was one of many made by Donald Trump intended to prevent the public from accessing government scientific information pertaining to global warming and man-made climate change. It was precisely that type of rhetoric that caused the Doomsday Clock to jump forward 30 seconds on Thursday morning, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
— Thomas Bishop (@ThomasB00001) January 26, 2017
An unnamed source at the EPA lamented the Trump decision to scrub the climate change data.
“If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear.”
Another major factor in the decision to move the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight was Donald Trump’s words regarding nuclear weapons. As TIME reports, well before he was elected POTUS, Trump began talking about nukes. And the folks who manage the Doomsday Clock noticed what he had to say. In March 2016, Trump suggested that it might be time to stop preventing Japan from acquiring nuclear weapons, something that the United States has been doing for decades.
“Can I be honest are you? Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it. You have so many other countries are now.”
— Jimmy Giles (@jaydubb63) January 26, 2017
@thehill Why be patriotic to a country that denies one healthcare? War may be our one salvation from the Republican agenda of fascism.
— Wesley A. Vischansky (@WesleyVsky) January 26, 2017
#DoomsdayClock moves up to 2 1/2 minutes to midnight. Closest since 1953. Loose talk & climate denial are key. Petulant children doom us.
— Marty Perlmutter (@stillhigher) January 26, 2017
"Facts are stubborn things and they must be taken account if the future of humanity is preserved." -Lawrence Krauss #doomsdayclock
— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) January 26, 2017
BREAKING: Bulletin of Atomic Scientists hold urgent press conf to warn of nuclear threat, compare Trump to "petulant child". #doomsdayclock
— Babie Cee (@babiecee) January 26, 2017
In another statement which apparently contributed to the 30 second jump taken by the Doomsday Clock this morning, Donald Trump said in April that he would never rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons. Despite likening them to “a horror.”
“I don’t want to rule out anything. I will be the last to use nuclear weapons. It’s a horror to use nuclear weapons. I will not be a happy trigger like some people might be. But I will never, ever rule it out.”
Never, ever rule it out.
— The Verge (@verge) January 26, 2017
According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which is sponsored and advised by a group of 15 Nobel Laureates, Donald Trump was the predominant factor in the decision to move the Doomsday Clock forward. The panel referred to his rhetoric as “cavalier,” both during the campaign and after.
“The board’s decision to move the clock less than a full minute reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days. A rise in strident nationalism worldwide, President Donald Trump’s comments on nuclear arms and climate issues, a darkening global security landscape that is colored by increasingly sophisticated technology, and a growing disregard for scientific expertise.”
The last time the Doomsday Clock was closer to midnight than it is at this moment, both the former Soviet Union and the United States were testing hydrogen bombs in 1953.
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) January 26, 2017
While Trump was a huge contributing factor in the Doomsday Clock time change, nuclear technology in other countries, including China, Russia, and North Korea, also played a factor. As did the rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin, although not to the degree of Donald Trump. Biotechnology, bio-terrorism, artificial intelligence and cyber security issues were also contributing factors to the decision.
— nick lashgari (@tangled_iv) January 26, 2017
As CNN reports, the Doomsday Clock was at three minutes to midnight in 1984 during the tail end of the Cold War. In 1991, the clock was moved all the way back to 17 minutes to midnight after the Cold War ceased and the threat of nuclear war diminished. Since 1991, the Doomsday Clock has inched ever closer to midnight, once again hitting 11:57 p.m. in 2015. In 2016, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists opted not to change the time on the clock, although they warned that three minutes to midnight was “far too close” to the apocalypse.
Donald Trump has yet to comment on the change to the Doomsday Clock and the role his administration played in the decision to move the minute hand forward.
[Featured Image by Tony Craddock/Shutterstock]