Scientists move Doomsday Clock: Global warming apparently an imminent threat

A hundred years from now, if we're all dead because of global warming, scientists have my permission to spit on my grave.

But that's 100 years in the future. So why did the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists move their iconic Doomsday Clock 2 minutes closer to midnight and cite global warming as a major reason? The proliferation and modernization of nukes I can understand. Human civilization can be destroyed in half an hour if there was a large scale nuclear exchange.

But by the time the terrible effects of global warming are supposedly to be felt to the fullest, you and I and all the scientists caught up in this issue will be dead. Why not cite death by a gamma ray burst or a comet striking the earth? Those events are just as likely to occur over the next 100 years as catastrophic global warming.


"Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity. And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe," said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in a news release. "These failures of leadership endanger every person on Earth."

The Bulletin's Science and Security Board looks at global issues on a regular basis and decides whether to move the minute hand of the clock, with particular stress on the status of nuclear arms and reaction to climate issues.

In recent years, the clock has moved the wrong direction for humanity. After standing at 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 -- the furthest it's ever been from the end of the world -- it's gotten closer each time it's been changed since, with the exception of 2010, when it was pushed back by one minute to 11:54 p.m.

The last time the clock was moved was in 2012, when it was moved up one minute to 11:55.

The scientists expressed disappointment at the latest developments.

Noting that nuclear trends are moving backwards, the Science and Security Board's Sharon Squassoni pointed out that weapons modernization programs and disarmament have "ground to a halt."

And action on climate change? "Efforts at reducing global emissions of heat-trapping gases have so far been entirely insufficient to prevent unacceptable climate disruption," said the Bulletin's Richard Somerville. "We all need to respond now, while there is still time."

In 1984, the last time the Clock was moved to 3 minutes to midnight, liberals made a huge deal about it because, well, Reagan and his anti-communism that most liberals predicted would blow up the world.

Instead, communism blew up - much to the chagrin and sorrow of liberals. Today, the movement of the Doomsday Clock under a Democratic president is ignored because, well, Obama.

The scientists wouldn't have dared mention it, but one of the reasons we're closer to the end of the world today is we have a putz for a president who combines incompetence with naievte - an extraordinarly dangerous combination. These next two years are going to be the most dangerous period since the 1950's as Putin tries to distract the Russian people from the ongoing economic meltdown. The chances for confrontation over Ukraine, or some other former Soviet satellite make the near future a roll of the dice and no one with half a brain feels confident that Obama can manage a crisis like that.