The Doomsday Clock, a symbolic clock focused on how close we are to tremendous global catastrophe… or doomsday, was moved from 6 minutes to midnight to 5 minutes to midnight today.
Reasons for Moving the Clock Forward
A handful of reasons were provided for moving the Doomsday Clock’s hands for just the 20th time since it was unveiled in 1947, including increasing worry regarding the original topic of the clock’s concern — nuclear proliferation. One of the growing concerns over the years, however, has been global warming, and our inaction on this topic, combined with some politicians complete rejection of science on this matter, was a key factor in moving the clock forward today.
“It is five minutes to midnight,” the scientists said. “Two years ago it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed.”
“A cross-cutting issue through the entire discussion is the worrisome trend to reject or diminish the significance of what science says is the characteristic of a problem,” said Robert Socolow of Princeton’s Environmental Institute. “There is a general judgement among us that we need the political leadership to affirm the primacy of science.”
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Additionally, the nuclear disasters in Japan last year contributed greatly to the clock’s most recent tick.
“They warned that the Fukushima meltdown once more exposed the dangers of nuclear power – not just because of technology but because of management failures.”
Suffice it to say, we here at CleanTechnica agree with the scientists, and it is largely why we do what we do.
In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuel energy and the concerns of nuclear energy, the unsustainable nature of reliance on oil, coal, and other limited resources was also cited. If only we could harness power from the sun, wind, and water….
History of the Doomsday Clock
For those interested in a little more history, the clock was first put into use in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. They have maintained the clock ever since. The clock has ticked forward or backward 20 times in those 65 years. The furthest it’s ever been from midnight was 17 minutes (after the break-up of the Soviet Union 20 years ago) and the closest it’s ever been is 2 minutes from midnight (in 1953, after the US’ and Soviet Union’s testing of their first thermonuclear devices). In 2010, the clock was moved backwards to 6 minutes to midnight out of optimism over global leader’s positions on key issues, but lack of action has led to greater concern.
More history on the Doomsday Clock, including all changes, can be found on Wikipedia, of course.
Clock at 5 Minutes to Midnight via shutterstock
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.