Doomsday Clock moved to just two minutes to 'apocalypse'

DC Comics took it upon themselves to apologize after they made light of the real-life Doomsday Clock

More important is whether the clock is closer to or farther from midnight? After the clock was introduced in 1947 - as a cover illustration for the BAS' magazine, when it was set at 7 minutes to midnight - it has been reset 23 times, updated over the following decades depending on world events and threat levels. That was the height of the Cold War and the year the Soviet Union tested its hydrogen bomb the year after the US tested its own hydrogen bomb.

The Bulletin was founded by concerned United States scientists involved in the Manhattan Project that developed the world's first nuclear weapons during the Second World War. It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight.

"Divorcing public policy from empirical reality endangers us all", said Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, at today's press conference. "Actually, the Doomsday Clock is as near midnight today as it was in 1953, when Cold War fears maybe achieved their largest amounts".

At a press conference Thursday about their announcement, scientists said that there were a number of reasons why they chose to advance the clock. At the time, the BAS felt that the world had become "as risky as it has been since World War II".

Nuclear tensions between the U.S. North Korea are still running high, making imminent armageddon a worryingly realistic possibility.

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"To call the world's nuclear situation dire is an understatement", said Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin.

Squassoni also said a global push is needed to bring about an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs and that holding talks with Pyongyang with no pre-conditions would be a step in the right direction. That was also the year that the Korean War ended - or, some would argue, paused - and President Dwight D. Eisenhower unveiled Atoms for Peace, a program meant to convince Americans that nuclear energy could be used to support research, medicine and agriculture and not only to destroy. "The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge", the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said.

Sivan Kartha, who heads the bulletin's science and security board and is a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environmental Institute, emphasized concerns over climate change, noting that in 1953, the only time the clock has been this close to midnight, it wasn't even an issue.

Confronting these dangers will require the relentless work of many years - more time than we likely have if nothing changes soon.

Since then, carbon dioxide has increased sixfold, and the environment has warmed about one degree Celsius.

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