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Humanity's doomsday clock moved up, now sits at 3 minutes to midnight

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, January 23, 2015, 2:26 PM - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved humanity's doomsday clock closer to midnight for the first time in three decades -- largely due to our changing climate.

The clock has been sitting at 5 minutes to midnight -- but on Thursday, that was moved two minutes closer.

RELATED: New Zealand accepts climate change refugees

The clock was created nearly 70 years ago and serves as a metaphor representing how close humanity is to a civilization-ending catastrophe.

Each year, the twenty board members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists convene to assess the biggest threats to humanity.

This year, the ongoing threat of climate change and nuclear weapons  proved sufficient enough to move the clock forward for the first time in thirty years.

"This is about doomsday; this is about the end of civilization as we know it," bulletin executive director Kennette Benedict told reporters in Washington.

"The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon."

Despite the grim news, some experts remain optimistic.

"I suspect that humans will 'muddle through' the climate situation much as we have muddled through the nuclear weapons situation - limiting the risk with cooperative international action and parallel domestic policies," Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University told reporters.

The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever been to midnight was in 1953, when the first tests on the hydrogen bomb were conducted.

That was enough to push the time forward to 11:58 p.m.


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