Doomsday Clock Set at 5 Minutes to Midnight; Ticks Closer to Doom

January 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

According to the “Doomsday Clock,” civilization is inching closer and closer to its ultimate doom. 

CBS News reports that the iconic Doomsday Clock is positioned at five minutes to midnight, which the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced Tuesday. 

But the clock is not an actual “doomsday” device; it is a visual metaphor of the danger of a ”civilization-threatening technological catastrophe.”

Each year, the board analyzes the international threats, especially nuclear arsenals and climate change, and decides where the minute hand on the Doomsday Clock should be. The closer it is to midnight, the closer the world is to doom. 

“As always, new technologies hold the promise of doing great good, supplying new sources of clean energy, curing disease, and otherwise enhancing our lives. From experience, however, we also know that new technologies can be used to diminish humanity and destroy societies,” the board wrote. “We can manage our technology, or become victims of it. The choice is ours, and the Clock is ticking.” 

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who created the clock, is a publication started by some of the researches who worked on the atomic bomb. Martyl Langsdorf, one of the wive’s of the researchers, illustrated the Doomsday Clock on the cover of the first Bulletin in 1947, with the clock set at 11:53 p.m.

Although Langsdorf died in March 2013, the clock keeps ticking. In January 2012, the Bulletin’s board set the minute hand of the clock at 11:55 p.m., which was one minute closer to midnight than the previous year. The decision was made based on the state of nuclear arsenals around the world, as well as accidents such as the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011 after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. 

Biosecurity was also considered, as the airborne strain of H5N1 flu spread in 2012. 

This January, the board did not ease the doomsday warnings, mostly because of stalled negotiations between U.S. and Russia, two countries with massive nuclear arsenals. 

Efforts to stop climate change are also struggling, as the U.S., E.U. and Australia are not showing much commitment to renewable energy, and Japan has backed off on their promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Bulletin board has provided some tips on what can be done to slow down the march toward doomsday. They suggest that the U.S. and Russia should reopen dialogue about nuclear weapons, climate change should be addressed and new rules should be instated to manage information technology. 

The closest the clock came to midnight was in 1953, when the minute hand ticked to 11:58 p.m. after the first test of the hydrogen bomb. 

It was at its best in 1991, when it was set back 17 minutes to midnight after the end of the Cold War. 

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