The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the big hand of its "Doomsday Clock" to three minutes to midnight, i.e. the end of the world, citing the apocalyptic threat of global warming and nuclear proliferation.

Photo Credit: Cliff Owen / AP

"In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity," reads a statement issued today by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. "World leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth."


The clock had been holding at five minutes to midnight since 2012, when it was moved forward one minute for reasons pertaining to nuclear safety. Today marks the only the third time that the Doomsday Clock has read three minutes to midnight (previous instances being in 1984, near the peak of the Cold War, and 1949, when the Soviet Union kicked tested its first atomic bomb). The only time the minute hand has been closer to midnight was in 1953, when both the U.S. and Soviet Union were active testing thermonuclear weapons.

Via Wikimedia Commons

"We call upon world leaders to take coordinated and rapid action to drastically reduce global emissions of heat-trapping gases, especially carbon dioxide," said Richard Somerville, a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board, and a distinguished professor emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in a statement. "We also urge the citizens of the world to demand action from their leaders. This threat looms over all of humanity. We all need to respond now, while there is still time."


[Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]