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At the Edge of the Apocalypse

Increasing threats of nuclear disaster combined with climate change prompts "Doomsday Clock" to be advanced to 2 minutes to "midnight."

The world's "Doomsday Clock" is now set at two minutes to midnight, the closest we have ever come to the end of humanity. It's a sad -- and scary -- commentary on the inability of leading nations to steer a path towards peace rather than drawing ever closer to nuclear war.

That's the grim assessment of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which moved the clock forward, citing “the failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.”

Bulletin officials Lawrence M. Krauss and Robert Rosner explained the decision to move the clock forward in an op-ed published today by The Washington Post. Krauss, chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Board of Sponsors, is director of the Origins Project and foundation professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department at Arizona State University. Rosner, chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board, is a distinguished service professor in the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago.

They pointed out that "days after Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the Doomsday Clock to 2½ minutes to midnight, in part because of destabilizing comments and threats from America’s new commander in chief."

"One year later, they wrote, "we are moving the clock forward again by 30 seconds, due to the failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change. The Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists assesses that the world is not only more dangerous now than it was a year ago; it is as threatening as it has been since World War II. In fact, the Doomsday Clock is as close to midnight today as it was in 1953, when Cold War fears perhaps reached their highest levels."

Yes, the "Doomsday Clock" is only symbolic and it doesn't mean that when the clock strikes 12 tonight that the apocalypse will come crashing down upon planet earth and we will all be annihilated. Nevertheless, the chilling message in this symbolic gesture must not be ignored.

"To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger — and its immediacy," Krauss and Rosner wrote. "North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region and the United States." The nuclear rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, does not help, they implied.

They cited other potential flash points around the world, including continuing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and that Pakistan and India have continued to build arsenals of nuclear weapons. "And in the Middle East, uncertainty about continued U.S. support for the landmark Iranian nuclear deal adds to a bleak overall picture," they wrote.

While climate change poses a less immediate danger to the world, Krauss and Rosner warned that "avoiding catastrophic temperature increases in the long run requires urgent attention now." They said the global response has failed to effectively meet the challenge and warned that the Trump administration's policy of ignoring the crisis adds to the "perilous security situation" faced by the world.

Tell me again, Trump voters, how this Makes America Great Again?

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