The world remains perilously close to global catastrophe because leaders have not made enough progress in reducing nuclear and climate threats, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warns.
The group of scientists, analysts and researchers kept the hands on the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight on Thursday, the closest it has ever been to the symbolic moment of total annihilation. The bulletin said lack of progress on nuclear risk and climate change dangers represent "the new abnormal," and the chance of global destruction has been heightened by disinformation campaigns and fake news.
"Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention," the bulletin said in a statement.
"These major threats — nuclear weapons and climate change — were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilization in extraordinary danger."
The bulletin has tracked the risk of nuclear apocalypse since 1947 and recognized climate change as an existential threat in 2007. The group set the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight last year, citing the North Korean nuclear crisis, the advance of global warming and the decline of U.S. diplomacy under President Donald Trump.
Before that, the Doomsday Clock last struck two minutes to midnight in 1953, the year the Soviet Union first tested the hydrogen bomb.