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Doomsday Clock now 2 minutes to midnight, closest since Cold War

Doomsday Clock now 2 minutes to midnight, closest since Cold War

"What matters is whether [the Doomsday Clock] is moving farther or closer to midnight".

A group of scientists moved the "doomsday clock" 30 seconds closer to midnight Thursday, citing the looming threats of nuclear conflict and climate change.

It is now sitting at two minutes to midnight, scientists from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist announced this afternoon.

For the first time, the Doomsday Clock was influenced by statements from an incoming U.S. President, Donald Trump, regarding the proliferation and the prospect of actually using nuclear weapons, as well as statements made in opposition to U.S. commitments regarding climate change. In an uncharacteristic move, the scientists moved the clock by 30 seconds in 2017, to 2½ minutes to midnight.

The Doomsday Clock was was furthest away at 17 minutes to midnight in 1991. They urged Moscow and Washington, which possess the world's largest nuclear arsenals, to return to the negotiating table over nuclear pacts, and to limit modernization plans, which they said threaten a new nuclear arms race.

"In October 1952, the United States tests its first thermonuclear device, obliterating a Pacific Ocean islet in the process; nine months later, the Soviets test an H-bomb of their own".

The metaphorical clock, created by the The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, assesses the danger of apocalypse based on the threats such as nuclear Armageddon, bioterrorism, climate change and other catastrophes.

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And "provocative" statements by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have made the nuclear risk "greater than necessary", said Robert Rosner, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago in IL and chair of the Bulletin's Science and Security Board.

'To call the nuclear situation dire is to underestimate the risk, ' the Bulletin said.

In 1947 they established the Doomsday Clock to provide a simple way of demonstrating the danger to the Earth and humanity posed by nuclear war.

The group, which was founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists, specifically notes "the decline of USA leadership and a related demise of diplomacy under the Trump administration" as a global concern and a reason for this year's leap closer to midnight. Last year's record-high temperatures across the globe, the devastating wildfires in the United States - probably exacerbated by drought - and the thinning of the ice caps all indicate humanity's failure to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, said Sivan Kartha, a climate researcher at the Stockholm Environmental Institute.

Officials urged citizens of the world to take-action.

On climate change, the statement's authors, a group that includes numerous Nobel Laureates, rip apart the White House's cabal of climate deniers and their work to undo climate policies put in place under previous administrations.

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