The Doomsday Clock Just Got Closer to Midnight

Tick tock. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP

It’s been 64 years since the world was as close to total destruction as it is today, according to those who set the time of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock.

At an event in D.C. Thursday, the Bulletin’s science and security board advanced the clock 30 seconds, putting it 2 minutes and 30 seconds away from midnight, which represents the point at which the Earth will come to a cataclysmic end. The scientists gave much of the credit for advancing the clock to President Trump.

Disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons made by Donald Trump, as well as the expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change by both Trump and several of his cabinet appointees, affected the Board’s decision, as did the emergence of strident nationalism worldwide.

The clock, which was created in 1947 and initally set at seven minutes to midnight, hasn’t been set this close to midnight since 1953, when both the U.S. and Russia tested nuclear weapons. “Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago, atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization,” the Bulletin said at the time. The clock was moved to 7 minutes before midnight in 1960 and has remained at least 3 minutes away — until today.

The Doomsday Clock Just Got Closer to Midnight