Catastrophe is 30 seconds closer than it was last week. That's the conclusion of editors for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, explaining their decision to reset the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock.
The Bulletin has published a graphic of the Clock every year since 1947, when the threat of nuclear war was the biggest threat to humanity. This is the first time the clock's minute hand was moved by less than a minute, according to the Bulletin's Science and Security Board, which decides whether to reset the clock each year.
"The board's decision to move the clock less than a full minute reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days," according to Bulletin [pdf]. As a result, the Doomsday Clock now shows it's now two and a half minutes to midnight, the witching hour of the apocalypse.
The Bulletin cited several reasons for the decision, but called out "a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, including in a US 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."
Calling Trump's statements "unsettling," the board mentioned the new president's earlier comments regarding the need for the US to increase its arsenal of nuclear weapons, "rejection" of experts' advice on international security, and his nominees to head the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency, "both of whom dispute basic climate science."
"In short, even though he has just now taken office, the president's intemperate statements, lack of openness to expert advice, and questionable cabinet nominations have already made a bad international security situation worse."
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