We are 100 seconds to midnight, which means doomsday has never been closer. But we seem to be missing something kind of important for a species - we don't appear to be too concerned about self-destruction. Last year, the clock stayed there, and Bulletin president and CEO Rachel Bronson welcomed the world to "the new abnormal".
Faced with this daunting threat landscape and a new willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today moves the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight-closer to apocalypse than ever.
"We now face a true emergency - an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay", she said. And after putting it at a unsafe two minutes from apocalypse for the last few years in a row, scientists upped their prediction to an unprecedented 100 seconds on Thursday. The science board found that both nuclear and climate change situations worsened past year.
"We have seen influential leaders denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats - global agreements with strong verification regimes - in favor of their own narrow interests and domestic political gain", Bronson said.
"Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers-nuclear war and climate change-that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society's ability to respond".
Brown, a former Democratic governor of California, also said that USA politicians from both major parties have not adequately worked to combat the nuclear and climate threats, and decried "vast, deep, and pervasive complacency" on a societal level. In 2007, the potential for catastrophic disruptions from the climate crisis were added into determining the time.
Fourth person dies in China's Wuhan from novel coronavirus
The World Health Organisation began responding to cases of unexplained pneumonia in Wuhan, central China, on December 31, 2019. SARS, possibly originating in bats, emerged that year and raged in China and then spread worldwide, killing 774 people.
Naturally, many were alarmed by the clock's new position - it's the closest it's ever been to midnight, now - but what exactly is the Doomsday Clock, who decides what "time" it is, and why should we care about it?
Bulletin also names the dire erosion of worldwide security and political infrastructure as motives for their decision to give the human race just 100 seconds on the clock.
In 2019, national leaders ended or undermined several major arms control treaties and negotiations, especially among the U.S., Iran and Russian Federation. "US-Russia cooperation on arms control and disarmament is all but nonexistent".
On climate change, 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, capping off a decade that was warmest in recorded history, according to NASA & NOAA. Climate change is a major reason why. "Now is the time to come together-to unite and to act".
CYBER-BASED DISINFORMATION "Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has heightened the nuclear and climate threats". As Jonas Salk argues in The Survival of the Wisest, "A complete inversion of values is necessary if man is to move from the Darwinian era to the "epoch of cooperation"; the alternative is species suicide".