Doomsday Clock Remains Unchanged At 100 Seconds To Midnight
The Doomsday Clock remains unchanged for 2021, having been kept at 100 seconds to midnight.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced the clock's 2021 time at a live international news conference today (27 January), which was held virtually via Zoom.
President and CEO Dr Rachel Bronson referenced the coronavirus pandemic as a factor for not moving the time further away from midnight, saying: "Humanity continues to suffer as the Covid-19 spreads around the world."
Bronson added: "The pandemic serves as a historic wake-up call, a vivid illustration that national governments and international organizations are unprepared to manage complex and dangerous challenges, like those of nuclear weapons and climate change."
Dr Asha M. George of the Bulletin's Science and Security Board also said the virus had 'revealed our vulnerabilities in ways that none have before, not even pandemic influenza and the anthrax attacks of 2001'.
The clock, which was founded in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists academic journal, is a metaphor to represent how close mankind is to global catastrophe.
It was first set at seven minutes to midnight, serving as a warning to humanity about the danger posed by nuclear weapons.
The website for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists explains: "The Doomsday Clock is a design that warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making.
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"It is a metaphor, a reminder of the perils we must address if we are to survive on the planet.
"When the Doomsday Clock was created in 1947, the greatest danger to humanity came from nuclear weapons, in particular from the prospect that the United States and the Soviet Union were headed for a nuclear arms race.
"The Bulletin considered possible catastrophic disruptions from climate change in its hand-setting deliberations for the first time in 2007."
Last year marked the first time the clock had been updated in the last two years, having been moved from 120 seconds to midnight to 100.
Explaining the reasoning behind the time change, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cited 'limited political response to climate change' and the killing of Iraqi military leader Qasem Soleimani.
The statement was addressed to 'leaders and citizens of the world' with the subject line: "Closer than ever."
The clock's hands were set the farthest from midnight back in 1991, when they were set to 17 minutes to midnight after the end of the Cold War.
Featured Image Credit: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
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