'Doomsday clock' setting closest to global annihilation since Cold War

'Doomsday clock' setting closest to global annihilation since Cold War
© Getty Images

The world is the closest it's been in more than 60 years to annihilation from nuclear war and climate change, a group of scientists warned Thursday.

The experts, lead by former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), say increasing tensions between the U.S. and nuclear-armed Russia and North Korea, as well as growing global carbon emissions, are keeping the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight — a dire placement last achieved during the Cold War.

ADVERTISEMENT
The metaphorical clock measures the symbolic point of annihilation on earth at the hands of humans. Today’s setting is the second year in a row the clock has been so close to midnight, tying it with the setting it last achieved in 1953 at the height of the Cold War.

“I can say at this moment the blindness and stupidity of the politicians and their consultants is truly shocking in the face of nuclear catastrophe and danger,” Brown told a crowd during the announcement Thursday.

“We're almost like travelers on the Titanic not seeing the iceberg ahead but enjoying the elegant dining and music.”

The decision to keep the clock was made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with their board that includes 14 Nobel laureates.

“We have entered a period called the new abnormal — we appear to be normalizing a very dangerous world in terms of the risk to nuclear war and climate change," said Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

“The 2019 time should not be taken as a time of stability but a stark warning,” she said of the clock’s settings. “It features an unpredictable landscape. This new abnormal is too normal and too volatile to accept.”

The clock last moved in 2018 to two minutes to midnight after being placed at two minutes, 30 seconds to midnight in 2017, the year President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE was inaugurated. The scientists started including climate change as a risk factor in addition to nuclear war in 2007 after an acknowledgement that human-burned fossil fuels were equally contributing to the globe’s demise.

“Every year that we continue to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere it ratchets up the level of human suffering and ecosystem destruction from climate change,” said Susan Solomon, an MIT professor of atmospheric chemistry.

“We’ve continued an upward climb in 2017 and continuing to 2018 — that’s very bad news. Every year that emissions continue to climb represents a year that we haven’t started on the task and made the challenge of starting it even bigger.”

Two major studies released last year by the United Nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the federal government warned of the ecological and economic repercussions that would occur from already measurable global warming.

A pair of polls released this week showed that the American public is at a heightened awareness of the impacts of climate change on a personal level.

The Trump administration continues to walk back climate fears.

Trump chided climate alarmists over the weekend, tweeting about the historic cold snap that blanketed the midwest and northeast: “Amazing how big this system is. Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!”