‘Doomsday Clock’ set for an update

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Scientists behind the so-called Doomsday Clock are expected to announce if humanity is any closer to ruin.

The scientists may announce a change of the minute hand on their clock that is a metaphor for how vulnerable the world is to catastrophe.

The clock accounts for the threat of nuclear weapons, climate change and new technologies.

The clock is currently set at three-minutes-to-midnight.

The group of scientists, known as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moved the clock up last year from five-minutes-to-midnight, noting the threat of climate change, the modernisation of nuclear weapons as well as large nuclear arsenals.

They said the threats were “extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity”.

Since that update, tensions between the US and Russia have increased, and North Korea recently conducted a nuclear test.

However, world leaders reached a deal in Paris to limit global temperature rises, and a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme.

The group could decide to leave the minute hand unchanged, as it has done in year’s past.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded at the University of Chicago in 1945 by a group of scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons. Their metaphorical clock was created two years later.

Today, the group includes physicists and environmental scientists from around the world, who decide whether to adjust the clock in consultation with the group’s Board of Sponsors – which includes 17 Nobel laureates.

The closest the clock has come to midnight was in 1953, when it was moved to two minutes from the apocalyptic midnight, following hydrogen bomb tests by the US and Russia.

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