Just like last year, the Doomsday Clock is set at two minutes from midnight, NBC News is reporting. The clock was created by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, and symbolizes how close we are to a possible apocalypse due to humanity-related issues. Each year, the Bulletin meets with a board of sponsors that includes 14 Nobel Laureates to determine what the clock should be set at.
The clock was also at two minutes until midnight last year — which essentially means we are closer to Armageddon than ever since 1953 during the Cold War. Scientists are citing climate change, nuclear arms, and threats of cyber-attacks for the clock’s current reading.
“We are calling this the new abnormal, a disturbing reality in which things are not getting better,”said Robert Rosner, a theoretical physicist at the University of Chicago and chair of the Bulletin’s science and security board.”We appear to be normalizing a world in which the risks of nuclear warfare and climate change, unchallenged, are ever more present and are not being effectively dealt with.”
Sharon Squassoni, a research professor at George Washington University and a member of the Bulletin’s science and security board, explained that a very likely doomsday scenario could be due to nuclear weapons. Squassoni believes that our current world leaders are not doing their job — that is, moving us away from nuclear warfare rather than toward it.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 24, 2019
Then there’s the fact that no progress has been made when it comes to climate change despite it being a prominent talking point in politics. Global emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise, and the United States economy has contributed to this rise and even reversed a decline that had been taking place for several years.
Herb Lin, a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University and a member of the Bulletin’s board, thinks “cyber-enabled information warfare” should also be considered as a potential catalyst for the end of the world. In Lin’s view, our instant access to information from the internet can lead to a bombardment of propaganda, contributing to an already polarized political climate.
Don’t take any solace in the fact that the 2019 time is the same as the time determined for 2018 either, says Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
“Though unchanged from 2018, this setting should be taken not as a sign of stability but as a stark warning to leaders and citizens around the world,” said Bronson.