THE BULLETIN of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) on Wednesday moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock from seven to five minutes to midnight, reflecting global failures to solve the problems posed by nuclear weapons and the climate crisis.

The BAS announced the Clock change at an unprecedented joint news conference held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Society in London. In a statement supporting the decision to move the hand of the Doomsday Clock, the BAS Board focused on two major sources of catastrophe: the perils of 27,000 nuclear weapons, with 2,000 of them ready to launch within minutes; and the destruction of human habitats from climate change.

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by the BAS. It is the 18th time the Doomsday Clock has been adjusted in 60 years, and the first time it has been adjusted since February 2002, following the 9/11 incident.

By moving the hand of the Clock closer to midnight the figurative end of civilisation the BAS Board of Directors is drawing attention to the increasing dangers from the spread of nuclear weapons in a world of violent conflicts, and to the catastrophic consequences brought about by climate changes. Xinhua