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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Thursday moved the hands of the symbolic "Doomsday Clock" ahead to two minutes to midnight, the closest since the 1950s, amid increasing worries over nuclear weapons and climate change.
According to Rachel Bronson, the president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "Because of the extraordinary danger of the current moment, The clock is now two minutes to midnight. The minute hand has been moved by 30 seconds ahead of a global catastrophe.
This is the closest the Clock has ever been to Doomsday, and as close as it was in 1953, at the height of the Cold War."
Scientists blamed a cocktail of threats, ranging from dangerous political rhetoric to the potential of a nuclear threat, as the catalysts for moving the clock closer toward doomsday, according to the CNN.
"North Korea's nuclear weapons program made remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks to North Korea itself, other countries in the region, and the United States. Hyperbolic political rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation," Bronson added in a statement.
"In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago - and as dangerous as it has been since World War II," Bronson maintained.
"On the climate change front, the danger may seem less immediate, but avoiding catastrophic temperature increases, in the long run, require urgent attention now. The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge," she continued.
The scientists created the clock in 1947, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the Earth.
The closer to a setting of midnight it gets, the closer it is estimated that a global disaster will occur.
The farthest the minute hand has been from midnight when the Cold War ended in 1991 and the clock was set 17 minutes to midnight.