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World two minutes closer to doomsday: Scientists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kennette Benedict, the executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, unveils the new Doomsday Clock in 2007 (file photo).

The Doomsday Clock, a symbolic timepiece used as a barometer of global threats to humanity, has been moved two minutes closer to midnight, a prominent group says.

Climate change and the threat of nuclear war have brought the world closer to doomsday, a group of scientists and Nobel laureates said Thursday.

“It is now three minutes to midnight,” said the executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, Kennette Benedict.

The clock had been at five minutes to midnight since 2012.

“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,” Benedict said, adding that “world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.”

The last time the clock struck three minutes to midnight was in 1983, at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Doomsday Clock, maintained since 1947, has been changed 18 times so far, ranging from two minutes to midnight in 1953 to 17 minutes before midnight in 1991.

The analogy originally represented the threat of global nuclear war, but since 2007 it has also reflected the global threat from climate change.

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