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Climate change, the looming threat of nuclear war and Donald Trump’s provocative nature in his role as US President are believed to be reasons that the clock will edge closer to midnight.
The metaphorical clock, created by the The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, assesses the danger of apocalypse based on the threats such as nuclear Armageddon, bioterrorism, climate change and other catastrophes.
Scientists unveiled the Doomsday Clock in 1947 after the atomic bombs they had helped to create decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War.
Co-founder Eugene Rabinowitch said: “The Bulletin’s clock is not a gauge to register the ups and downs of the international power struggle; it is intended to reflect basic changes in the level of continuous danger in which mankind lives in the nuclear age.”
The clock currently stands at two and a half minutes to midnight – the closest the Doomsday Clock has been to midnight since 1953 when hydrogen bombs were being tested for the US and Soviet Union pushed the clock to two minutes to midnight.
Scientists in 2017 blamed the election of Mr Trump for the current setting.
They said: ”The United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts.
“Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person.
“But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”
After a controversial year for the US President and the looming threat of nuclear warheads being built by North Korea, the scientists look likely to move the hands closer to midnight.
Bruce Blair, co-founder of anti-nuke campaigners Global Zero, told Daily Star Online: “2017 was a bad year for the clock and portends a worse year with the distinct possibility of a catastrophe of global proportions.
“The Trump administration’s draft Nuclear Posture Review compounds the deterioration in our relationship by creating more room for the first use of US nuclear weapons, an option inspired by Russia’s cyber interference in western elections and its preparation of cyber bombs to attack critical civilian infrastructure (financial, communications, transportation and energy) at an early phase of a conventional conflict.
“Overall the situation warrants moving the minute hand forward one minute toward midnight, possibly 1.5 minutes forward. That would put it at one or less minutes from midnight.”
The changing of the Doomsday Clock will be unveiled in a live press conference at 15.00 GMT on Thursday, January 25.