‘Doomsday Clock’ holds 100-second midnight record as COVID-19, Capitol Mob are factors
The “Doomsday Clock” is between 100 seconds and midnight, a panel of scientists and security experts said on Wednesday, matching the level of risk assigned last year when the world saw its first signs that a devastating pandemic is looming.
“Humanity continues to suffer this year as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world,” said Rachel Bronson, CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which includes experts from all over but can connect its origins at the University of Chicago. Governments have too often abdicated their responsibilities during this public health crisis, she said.
The lasting impact of the uneven official response to COVID, Bronson said, raises uncertainty over whether officials can respond with appropriate concern in the face of the risk of climate change and nuclear tensions.
Each year the Atomic Scientists Bulletin decides to bring the clock closer to midnight or to the hour of “doom”. They wonder if humanity is safer or more at risk compared to the previous year. In December 2020, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which includes 13 Nobel Prize winners and is based in Chicago, marked its 75e anniversary.
The clock stood at 17 minutes from midnight at the end of the Cold War, its longest distance to date.
Last year, before the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic were fully realized, the Bulletin changed its clock from two minutes at midnight to just 100 seconds at midnight, the closest it has been. never been.
This decision was prompted by the departure of world leaders from multilateral pacts with major global counterparts and instead go it alone more often.
Regarding the nuclear part of the risk assessment, the expert group said in its statement that the acceleration of nuclear programs in several countries moved the world to a less stable and less manageable territory last year. .
“The development of hypersonic glide vehicles, ballistic missile defenses, and weapon delivery systems that can flexibly use conventional or nuclear warheads can increase the likelihood of miscalculations in times of stress,” he said. -he declares. “Events like the deadly attack earlier this month on the United States Capitol have renewed legitimate concerns about national leaders who have exclusive control over the use of nuclear weapons.”
The level of response to climate change remains to be seen, however, with some signs of change.
US President Joe Biden has paid renewed attention to climate change and slowing global warming during his few days in office, a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, as his administration sets out to reverse the previous administration’s energy and environmental policies.
Biden has already sparked the U.S. return to the voluntary Paris climate agreement, which U.S. allies have been adhering to since its launch even five years ago. as then – President Donald Trump withdrew the United States