The Doomsday Clock is an invention by some of the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb. Its job is to give a metaphorical indication of just how dangerous various threats to civilization and mankind have become. At 11 AM on Thursday the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced the first change in two years and the news was not good: The group has determined that the clock should be set to 11:57 PM, which is only three minutes until the doomsday hour and only one minute short of its highest level ever.
According to CBS News:
The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever come to midnight was in 1953, when the minute hand ticked to 11:58 PM after the first test of the hydrogen bomb. It was at its most optimistic in 1991, when the Bulletin board set the time at 17 minutes to midnight as the Cold War ended.
Since 1991, however, the clock has been ticking gradually toward doom, as it became clear that total nuclear disarmament would not be happening.
Since 2012, the hands of the foreboding clock have stayed at 11:55 PM. Decisions to change the time are based on a number of factors such as nuclear proliferation, climate change and biological threats. Climate change was reportedly a main contributor to the most recent decision to move closer to midnight.
If scientists are saying that climate change today is only one factor away from being as serious as the hair trigger status of nuclear war in 1953, it might be important to listen.