Approaching the Midnight Hour

London: The world is inching closer to nuclear Armageddon, top scientists warned on Wednesday as they moved a symbolic Doomsday Clock nearer to midnight and stressed the growing threat from climate change.
Physicist Stephen Hawking was among 18 Nobel Laureates backing the warning, which cited North Korea and Iran as key factors in the increased danger of a nuclear winter. “It is now five minutes to midnight,” Hawking said after the clock was moved forward two minutes from 11:53 pm, where it had stood since 2002. “We foresee great peril if governments and scientists don’t take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change,” he added. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has kept a Doomsday clock since 1947 as a reminder of the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
“North Korea’s recent test of a nuclear weapon, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a renewed US emphasis on the military utility of nuclear weapons, the failure to adequately secure nuclear materials, and the continued presence of some 26,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia are symptomatic of a failure to solve the problems posed by the most destructive technology on Earth,” said the Bulletin in a statement.
Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, Britain’s top scientific institution, said, “Climate change and emerging technologies in the life sciences also have the potential to end civilization as we know it.”

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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