Nuclear weapons, climate change cited
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Former California Governor Jerry Brown, (L) and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry unveil the Doomsday Clock in Washington, D.C.
(CNN) – If you have anything left on your bucket list, do it now, because the world is close to annihilation.
That’s according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which gave its annual presentation of the Doomsday Clock on Thursday.
A group of scientists and scholars, including 15 Nobel laureates, set the clock at 11:58 p.m. — two minutes before the symbolic apocalyptic midnight.
The minute hand didn’t move since last year. But 11:58 p.m. is the closest the clock has ever been to symbolizing doom.
“The fact that the Doomsday Clock’s hands did not change is bad news,” said Robert Rosner, chair of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board.
So why are we so close to destruction? Nuclear weapons and climate change, experts say.
“In the nuclear realm, the United States abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and announced it would withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), grave steps towards a complete dismantlement of the global arms control process,” the Bulletin said.
“The Iran agreement is not perfect, but it serves the interest of the international community in restraining the spread of nuclear weapons.”
As for climate change, “global carbon dioxide emissions — which seemed to plateau earlier this decade — resumed an upward climb in 2017 and 2018,” the Bulletin said.
“To halt the worst effects of climate change, the countries of the world must cut net worldwide carbon dioxide emissions to zero by well before the end of the century.”
The scientists lambasted President Donald Trump’s announcement to pull out of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, “the main global accord on addressing climate change.”
The Doomsday Clock hasn’t always spelled doom and gloom since it was first introduced in the 1940s.
Back in 1991, it was set at a whopping 17 minutes before midnight.
But before the clock struck 11:58 p.m. in both 2018 and 2019, the last time the world was considered so close to annihilation was in 1953, when the United States and the Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race.