Doomsday Clock 2014: Clock Set at 5 Minutes to Midnight (Doom)

January 17, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

The Doomsday clock is set at five minutes to midnight in 2014, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists recently announced. Midnight represents doom.

The Science and Security board of the bulletin implored world leaders to immediately combat climate change and nuclear weapon stockpiling, announcing that the minute hand on the clock is remaining at five to midnight because  “the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high.”

Positive developments happened in 2013, including negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program and in the production of solar and other renewable energy, but the developments came within a “business-as-usual_ context that stalled efforts to shrink arenals of nuclear weapons around the world and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Emerging techonolgy such as cyber weapons and killer robots further endanger humanity, the board noted. 

“As always, new technologies hold the promise of doing great good, supplying new sources of clean energy, curing disease, and otherwise enhancing our lives. From experience, however, we also know that new technologies can be used to diminish humanity and destroy societies,” the Board wrote. “We can manage our technology, or become victims of it. The choice is ours, and the Clock is ticking.”

While the climate change threat is high, the board considers nuclear weapons to be the world’s biggest threat, saying that it is “potentially civilization-ending.”

“People don’t actually understand, the nuclear weapons situation is remarkably dangerous,”  John Mecklin, editor in chief of the bulletin, told the Los Angeles Times. 

The clock first appeared on the cover of the bulletin in 1947, after which it has been moved 20 times. The group created the clock “using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet.”

It was set at five minutes to midnight in January 2012. 

While the clock hasn’t moved, it is too close too midnight, Mecklin said, calling it “really close, and really bad.”

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