Year 3, Month 1, Day 15: That’s When My Love Comes Tumblin’ Down

The Deseret News (UT) runs a story from the L.A. Times about the assessment of the situation from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

LOS ANGELES — Doomsday is one minute closer, folks.

The hands on the face of the symbolic Doomsday Clock have been repositioned to five minutes before midnight — signaling how close we may be to a global catastrophe unless we get our act together.

On Monday, the Doomsday Clock read six minutes before midnight. But on Tuesday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, self-tasked with informing the public about the pending threat from nuclear weapons, climate change and emerging technologies, decided to push the clock up a minute. It now reads five minutes before midnight — in recognition of a growing nuclear threat and damage from climate change.

“Inaction on key issues including climate change, and rising international tensions motivate the movement of the clock,” Lawrence Krauss, co-chairman of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists board, said in a statement released Tuesday.

The statement added: “As we see it, the major challenge at the heart of humanity’s survival in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth in developing and industrial countries without further damaging the climate, exposing people to loss of health and community, and without risking further spread of nuclear weapons, and in fact setting the stage for global reductions.”

Only one minute? Sent January 11:

Given the steady accumulation of ominous news on climate change over the past year, it’s actually surprising that the analysts at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists only moved their “doomsday clock” a single minute closer to the symbolic midnight point.

Even leaving aside the specific climatic impacts of a runaway greenhouse effect, there’s no doubt that the coming century’s droughts, wildfires, extreme weather, and rising ocean levels will bring profound geopolitical consequences — resource wars and refugee crises, often in some of the world’s most volatile areas.

And yet, the three major US networks broadcast only 14 news stories about climate change — a total of 32 minutes — during 2011. More time was given to celebrity weddings and the latest scandal du jour than to the most significant threat our species has faced in recorded history. Our collective failure to address this slow-motion catastrophe will have devastating consequences. Midnight is nigh.

Warren Senders


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