LOS ANGELES — Doomsday is one minute closer, folks.
The hands on the face of the symbolic Doomsday Clock have been repositioned to five minutes before midnight — signaling how close we may be to a global catastrophe unless we get our act together.
On Monday, the Doomsday Clock read six minutes before midnight. But on Tuesday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, self-tasked with informing the public about the pending threat from nuclear weapons, climate change and emerging technologies, decided to push the clock up a minute. It now reads five minutes before midnight — in recognition of a growing nuclear threat and damage from climate change.
"Inaction on key issues including climate change, and rising international tensions motivate the movement of the clock," Lawrence Krauss, co-chairman of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists board, said in a statement released Tuesday.
The statement added: "As we see it, the major challenge at the heart of humanity's survival in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth in developing and industrial countries without further damaging the climate, exposing people to loss of health and community, and without risking further spread of nuclear weapons, and in fact setting the stage for global reductions."
The Bulletin was established in 1945 by the scientists and engineers who worked on the Manhattan Project, which created the atomic bomb. So the folks behind it are familiar with the effects of nuclear weapons — and the potential for overwhelming destruction.
The use of the symbolic clock dates back to 1947.