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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has never before taken the step of advancing its Doomsday Clock by 30 seconds in one go.

Doomsday clock inches closer to midnight, find out why

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Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Thursday, January 26, 2017, 5:17 PM - The Doomsday Clock has been moved ahead 30 seconds closer to midnight by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

It was moved from three minutes to midnight, which was the time that was set since 2015. At two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, the clock is now the closest it has been to the apocalypse since 1953 when it was moved to two minutes after the U.S. detonated a thermonuclear bomb for the first time and the Soviet Union tested a hydrogen bomb.

It's also the first time the Bulletin has adjusted the clock by 30 seconds in one go.

The group cited several factors for the change including, nuclear warfare, cyber technology and climate change.

"Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change," the Bulletin’s board said in a statement.

"This already-threatening world situation was the backdrop for a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, including in a U.S. presidential campaign during which the eventual victor, Donald Trump, made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change."

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During a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin noted there is a "growing disregard" for scientific expertise.

"Climate change should not be a partisan issue," said David Titley, a meteorologist at Pennsylvania State University. "The planet will continue to warm to ultimately dangerous levels so long as carbon dioxide continues to be pumped into the atmosphere, irrespective of political leadership."

Titley added that it is imperative for the Trump administration to accept that climate change caused by human activity is a reality.

"No problem can be solved unless its existence is first recognized," he said. "There are no alternative facts here."

The doomsday clock was created 70 years ago. It 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.

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