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Doomsday Clock moves closer to midnight

Commentary: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists seems to think things aren't too rosy for the world right now.

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US President Donald Trump

Leading us to disaster? Surely not.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Apocalypse when? 

Soon, it seems.

At least if you believe the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which on Thursday offered a grim view of Earth's future.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Lawrence Krauss, chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' board of sponsors, and Robert Rosner, chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' science and security board, said another half-minute has passed.

Shortly after Donald Trump took office, the Bulletin moved the Doomsday Clock -- a symbolic expression of how close we are to self-implosion -- to two and a half minutes to midnight.

Now it's just two minutes.

Why?

"We are moving the clock forward again by 30 seconds, due to the failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change," the scientists wrote. 

It's true that the US president and his cohorts haven't been cheerleaders in the fight against climate change. The withdrawal from the Paris agreement -- which leaves America out in the, um, cold alone -- suggested that Trump thinks there's nothing to worry about.

The French couldn't bear it and had to mock the decision -- on Twitter, naturally. The withdrawal even caused a storm at the Weather Channel.

Still, the scientists believe the threat of nuclear annihilation is even greater than that presented by our abuse of the planet's protective climate.

"Global nuclear risks were compounded [in 2017] by US-Russia relations that now feature more conflict than cooperation," wrote the scientists. 

Conflict with Russia? And to think some people were convinced there was collusion.

But then there's North Korea, another place that's already undergone a war with Trump. A Twitter war, that is. 

"The failure in 2017 to secure a temporary freeze on North Korea's nuclear development was unsurprising to observers of the downward spiral of nuclear rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un," wrote Krauss, a theoretical physicist, and Rosner, an astrophysicist.

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

In essence, then, the world is in its most parlous state since, the scientists say, the Cold War of 1953.

"We hope this resetting of the clock will be interpreted exactly as it is meant: an urgent warning of global danger," they say.

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947. It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight. 

Which means we've gone five minutes backward in 71 years. 

My rudimentary math tells me that, if the pace of erosion is consistent, it'll take around another 28 years for the whole planet to go boom.  

Unless, of course, one ill-judged tweet leads us all over the edge.

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