Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Move Clock Ahead 30 Seconds, Closest to Midnight Since 1953; #RewindtheDoomsdayClock: Cool Trump Nuclear Rhetoric, Negotiate With North Korea, Stick With Iran Deal, Reduce US-Russian Tensions, and Insist on Global Action on Climate Change.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 25, 2018 – Citing growing nuclear risks and unchecked climate dangers, the iconic Doomsday Clock is now 30 seconds closer to midnight, the closest to the symbolic point of annihilation that the Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War. The decision announced today to move the Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight was made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with the Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel Laureates. The full text of the Doomsday Clock statement is available at http://www.thebulletin.org and includes key recommendations about how to #RewindtheDoomsdayClock.
Video from the Doomsday Clock announcement at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., is available at http://clock.thebulletin.org/ and on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BulletinOfTheAtomicScientists/.
The statement explaining the resetting of the time of the Doomsday Clock notes: “In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago—and as dangerous as it has been since World War II. The greatest risks last year arose in the nuclear realm. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region, and the United States. Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions on both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation …. On the climate change front, the danger may seem less immediate, but avoiding catastrophic temperature increases in the long run requires urgent attention now …. The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge.”
Fueling concerns about the potential of a nuclear holocaust are a range of U.S.-Russian military entanglements, South China Sea tensions, escalating rhetoric between Pakistan and India, and uncertainty about continued U.S. support for the Iran nuclear deal. Contributing to the risks of nuclear and non-nuclear clashes around the globe are the rise of nation-state information technology and internet-based campaigns attacking infrastructure and free elections, according to the statement.
Also highlighted as an overarching global concern: The decline of U.S. leadership and a related demise of diplomacy under the Trump Administration. “… [T]here has also been a breakdown in the international order that has been dangerously exacerbated by recent U.S. actions. In 2017, the United States backed away from its longstanding leadership role in the world, reducing its commitment to seek common ground and undermining the overall effort toward solving pressing global governance challenges. Neither allies nor adversaries have been able to reliably predict U.S. actions or understand when U.S. pronouncements are real, and when they are mere rhetoric. International diplomacy has been reduced to name-calling, giving it a surrealistic sense of unreality that makes the world security situation ever more threatening.”
In January 2017, the Doomsday Clock’s minute hand edged forward by 30 seconds, to two and half minutes before midnight. For the first time, the Doomsday Clock was influenced by statements from an incoming U.S. President, Donald Trump, regarding the proliferation and the prospect of actually using nuclear weapons, as well as statements made in opposition to U.S. commitments regarding climate change.