The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has updated the iconic Doomsday Clock. We’re now five figurative minutes
from the end of the world.
This is a worsening of the global situation since 2010, when we stood a comparatively comfortable six minutes from annihilation, and marks a return to the same level of danger the world faced in 2007. It is in effect an admission by the Bulletin that their optimism in the final years of the double-oh decade was misplaced. In electing to move the clock forward by a minute, the Bulletin noted, “The provisional developments of 2 years ago [when it the clock was moved to six-minutes-to-midnight] have not been sustained, and it makes sense to move the clock closer to midnight, back to the value it had in 2007. Faced with clear and present dangers of nuclear proliferation and climate change, and the need to find sustainable and safe sources of energy, world leads [sic] are failing to change business as usual.”
There’s a few problems with this. For starters: If it’s “business as usual,” why move the clock? Business as usual suggests the clock is perfectly placed, unless the Bulletin feels it dropped the ball in 2010. More to the point, though — maybe climate change and nuclear warfare are something that we ought to treat somewhat differently? If the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wants to muse about the danger posed by climate change, fine. But pick a different symbol. It’s not even hard to figure out. Hello, atomic scientists? A thermometer, maybe?