Two Minutes Closer to Doomsday

The doomsday clock, created in 1947 by the directors of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, has inched two minutes closure to midnight-which signifies the proverbial “end of time.” The clock, which has been a staple of the Bulletin since its inception, is a figurative illustration of how close humanity is to complete destruction as a result of nuclear war.

However, today it displays a different danger. Today’s clock, which reads five minutes to midnight, has moved because of Iran’s possible nuclear arsenal, North Korea’s testing and the increased threat of a global climate change brought on by global warming. Furthermore, the scientists believe that there has never been a more dire time for humankind than when the first nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fact that global warming has presented itself to be a serious threat equal to nuclear war signifies the failure and negligence of world leaders in recent decades concerning the environment and it would be foolish if it was ignored any longer.

The scientists who maintain the clock issued this statement: “This deteriorating state of global affairs leads the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists-in consultation with a Board of Sponsors that includes 18 Nobel laureates-to move the minute hand of the “Doomsday Clock” from seven to five minutes to midnight.”

One of the co-founders of the Bulletin, Eugene Rabinowitch, explained the clock not as a barometer of power struggle but rather a manifestation of the changing levels of danger present in the nuclear age.

Besides the threat of nuclear proliferation and war, the scientists have taken into account global warming as a threat to humanity, “second only to nuclear weapons.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded, “most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

Carbon-dioxide, created by the burning of fossil fuels, has closed the atmosphere off, warming the Earth each day. Also, some earlier predictions have been wrong and the climate changes have taken place more rapidly. Hurricanes will become more fierce, tornados will happen where they usually do not, and coral reefs will disappear, eventually requiring the relocation of humans.

According to the many studies numerous scientific bodies including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Meteorological Societyhave done, if the world was to continue with “business as usual” – taking no protective measures to lower greenhouse gases – it would raise the global temperature five degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. This would raise sea level approximately 80 feet world wide. The east coast of the U.S. would lose New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and most of the state of Florida. More than 200 million people from China and 150 million in India would be displaced.

People scoff at environmentalists and their attempts to warn the public, and so far their advice has been largely ignored. This is a global issue and it will take the globe to fix it. The idea that this is too large a problem for this one country to fix is false. As Bulletin explains: “Efforts in this one country would have disproportionately large effects on world climate. As a wealthy and technologically advanced country, the United States is well positioned to reduce its carbon emissions.”