On Thursday, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists made an adjustment to the Doomsday Clock by pushing the second hand forward 30 seconds, making the likelihood of a global catastrophe. Doomsday occurs at midnight, so the closer to midnight the clock is set, the more peril they believe the world is in. The clock was farthest from midnight in 1991, when it was moved back to 17 minutes after the USA and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
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Also of concern to the Bulletin's scientists, who include 15 Nobel laureates, is the undermining of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, upgrading of the USA and Russian nuclear arsenals and the two powers eschewing arms control negotiations.
"The actions and policies of the nuclear-armed states are winding the Doomsday Clock towards midnight", she said in an emailed statement.
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"We considered the ossified state of armed control negotiations and non-proliferation agreements as well as new testing undertaken by North Korea, nuclear exercises built into Russia's military plans and enhanced commitment to nuclear weapons in Pakistan Indian and China".
The group also notes the uncertainty of US support for the Iran nuclear deal as a threat, and the rise of "nation-state information technology and internet-based campaigns" attacking free elections.
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The scientists said "the world is not only more unsafe now than it was a year ago".
On the climate change front, the Bulletin warns that "avoiding catastrophic temperature increases in the long run requires urgent attention now". This latest adjustment brings the clock within two minutes of midnight.
The reading in more recent times has reflected the impact of climate change on the planet and the effects of new technology and science in the world.
The clock, which serves as a metaphor for global apocalypse, has been moved forward by 30 seconds by the clock's keepers.
In an emailed statement, an anti-nuclear group expressed its concern.