Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Doomsday Clock" Moves Two Minutes Closer To Midnight


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Adjusts Clock From 7 to 5 Minutes Before Midnight; “ Deteriorating” Global Situation Cited on Nuclear Weapons and New Factor: Climate Change.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) is moving the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. It is now 5 minutes to midnight. Reflecting global failures to solve the problems posed by nuclear weapons and the climate crisis, the decision by the BAS Board of Directors was made in consultation with the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

BAS announced the Clock change today at an unprecedented joint news conference held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, and the Royal Society in London. In a statement supporting the decision to move the hand of the Doomsday Clock, the BAS Board focused on two major sources of catastrophe: the perils of 27,000 nuclear weapons, 2000 of them ready to launch within minutes; and the destruction of human habitats from climate change. In articles by 14 leading scientists and security experts writing in the January-February issue of theBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the potential for catastrophic damage from human-made technologies is explored further.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project and were deeply concerned about the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear war. In 1947 the Bulletin introduced its clock to convey the perils posed by nuclear weapons through a simple design. The Doomsday Clock evoked both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). In 1949 Bulletin leaders realized that movement of the minute hand would signal the organization’s assessment of world events. The decision to move the minute hand is made by the Bulletin’s Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. The Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to nuclear weapons and other threats. Additional information is available on the Web at http://www.thebulletin.org.

No comments: