On Tuesday, scientists in charge of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock” will reveal whether the minute hand on the has moved closer to midnight, signifying the degree and likelihood of a global catastrophe.
Update: The doomsday clock has been left at three minutes to midnight. The Bulletin released a statement to explain its decision:
Because the diplomatic successes on Iran and in Paris have been offset, at least, by negative events in the nuclear and climate arenas, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board find the world situation to be highly threatening to humanity—so threatening that the hands of the Doomsday Clock must remain at three minutes to midnight, the closest they’ve been to catastrophe since the early days of above-ground hydrogen bomb testing.
The clock is a visual mechanism used to show the world how much danger humanity faces.
Iran’s creeping influence in the Middle East and expansion as a consequence of the recently implemented nuclear deal, coupled with reports of North Korea allegedly testing a hydrogen bomb add to the likelihood that the clock of doom could be moved closer to midnight.
Are you concerned about nations that don’t currently possess nuclear weapons acquiring them?
— BulletinOfTheAtomic (@BulletinAtomic) January 25, 2016
In January of last year, scientists behind the bulletin adjusted the clock from five minutes-to-midnight to three minutes-to-midnight citing climate change, modernization of nuclear weapons and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals as “extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity,” according to the Associated Press.
Following Tuesday’s unveiling in Washington, D.C., California Gov. Jerry Brown will join former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry for a discussion at Stanford University. This past December, Gov. Brown equated climate change to nuclear war.
The AP notes that the clock was closest to midnight in 1953–two minutes away from striking 12–after the ongoing cold war between the United States and Soviet Union resulted in both nations testing hydrogen bombs.
In 1991, the clock reportedly was moved back by 17 minutes-to-midnight as the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia officially came to an end and Russia cut back on its nuclear arsenal. And in 1998, the clock reportedly moved closer to midnight again–just nine minutes away–after India and Pakistan staged nuclear weapons tests.
Given the left-wing politics that often drive the “doomsday” considerations, it is also possible that the Iran deal and the new Paris climate change accord will prompt scientists to move the clock back–even though the Iran deal enables the regime’s nuclear program, and the climate deal does little to address the challenges facing the planet.
The Bulletin of the Atomic will unveil the “Doomsday Clock’s” new time at 1:30 p.m. EST.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.