Doomsday Clock Moved 30 Seconds Closer to Midnight Because of Donald Trump

Posted on January 26, 2017

Doomsday Clock at 2 and a Half Minutes to Midnight

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock 30 second closer to midnight. The clock is now set at two and a half minutes to midnight. This is the first time the clock has been moved less than a full minute.

The Doomsday Clock was established by University of Chicago scientists in 1947. The clock uses the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet.

In a released statement the scientists note that the U.S. and Russia remain at odds in regions that include Syria and the Ukraine. They also note North Korea's underground nuclear tests and the continued tension between the governments of Pakistan and India.

The scientists also noted the "strident nationalism" and used by Donald Trump in his presidential campaign:
This already-threatening world situation was the backdrop for a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, including in a US presidential campaign during which the eventual victor, Donald Trump, made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.
The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists note that the statements of an individual have not influenced the board's decision to move the clock in the past. They made an exception this year. They write, "And this year, events surrounding the US presidential campaign - including cyber offensives and deception campaigns apparently directed by the Russian government and aimed at disrupting the US election-have brought American democracy and Russian intentions into question and thereby made the world more dangerous than was the case a year ago."

The clock was closed to midnight in 1953 when it was two minutes to midnight. It was 17 minutes out in 1991 when the cold war was officially over and Russian and the U.S. began making cuts to their nuclear arsenals.

Image: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists