Scientists: 'Doomsday Clock' now at three minutes to midnight - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Scientists: 'Doomsday Clock' now at three minutes to midnight

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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday clock closer to midnight on Thursday The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday clock closer to midnight on Thursday
KHQ.com - In the Terminator movies, the beginning of the end is when SkyNet becomes self-aware and launches an attack against humans. It is known as Judgement Day, and if you listen to James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it already happened on August 29, 1997. 

But if you think we're in the clear because it already happened, don't get too comfortable yet. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which is actually made up of a board that includes 17 Nobel prize laureates, says that complete planetary destruction is near. On Thursday they moved the "Doomsday Clock" to three minutes to midnight. The group says rising threats from unchecked climate change and nuclear weapons have created the biggest existential crisis for humanity since the Cold War. 

Civilization hasn't been more imperiled since the 1950s, according to the group. 

The clock was first set in 1947 and was established by Manhattan Project scientists, who coincidentally built the world's first atomic bomb. The idea behind it was to create a visible symbol to help the public understand the threats humans pose to themselves. Since 1947, the clock has been adjusted 18 times. The safest period since then has been from 1991 to 1994, when the clock was 17 minutes from midnight. The last time it peaked to where it stands now, was during the Cold War tensions of the 1980s. The last time it was adjusted was in 2012, when it was five minutes from midnight. 

So how do we roll back the clock and avoid catastrophe? Protect John Conner? Surprisingly, no. 

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists said we must:

  • Cap greenhouse gas emissions at levels that would keep global warming below 2C (3.6F) 
  • Dramatically cut spending on nuclear weapons modernization 
  • Reinvigorate the nuclear disarmament process 
  • Deal with the problem of nuclear waste

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