UPDATE 10:31 AM ET: The "Doomsday Clock" has been reset by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to six minutes to midnight, from five minutes to midnight.
A "more hopeful state of affairs" determined the movement of the clock one minute further away from midnight--or slightly further away from "total destruction."
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board explained the decision in a statement:
It is 6 minutes to midnight. We are poised to bend the arc of history toward a world free of nuclear weapons. For the first time since atomic bombs were dropped in 1945, leaders of nuclear weapons states are cooperating to vastly reduce their arsenals and secure all nuclear bomb-making material. And for the first time ever, industrialized and developing countries alike are pledging to limit climate-changing gas emissions that could render our planet nearly uninhabitable. These unprecedented steps are signs of a growing political will to tackle the two gravest threats to civilization -- the terror of nuclear weapons and runaway climate change.
The BAS also cited the election of Barack Obama in moving the clock backward:
A key to the new era of cooperation is a change in the U.S. government's orientation toward international affairs brought about in part by the election of Obama. With a more pragmatic, problem-solving approach, not only has Obama initiated new arms reduction talks with Russia, he has started negotiations with Iran to close its nuclear enrichment program, and directed the U.S. government to lead a global effort to secure loose fissile material in four years. He also presided over the U.N. Security Council last September where he supported a fissile material cutoff treaty and encouraged all countries to live up to their disarmament and nonproliferation obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty...
Watch a replay of the Doomsday Clock news even at TurnBackTheClock.
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This Thursday, January 14 at 10AM ET, atomic scientists will reset the "Doomsday Clock" to show us whether they think the humanity is getting closer or further from total annihilation.
Established in 1947 and moved 18 times in the past 65 years, the Doomsday Clock evaluates the "means humankind could use to obliterate itself" (such as nuclear weapons), then uses the number of "minutes to midnight" to represent how close they believe the human species is to "catastrophic destruction," where midnight represents "doomsday".
The last time the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago reset the Doomsday Clock was in 2007, when they moved the clock from seven to five minutes to midnight.
How do the atomic scientists decide whether to move the clock forward or back?
The executive director of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists told Politico,
"We look at general scientific trends, gather experts in the fields of nuclear weapons, energy, climate change and life sciences, and we talk about the clock" Benedict said, saying the group of scientists discusses the clock twice a year. "And then when events warrant, we decide to move the handle."
Watch a teaser about the Doomsday Clock in the video below, then watch it live as it is reset at TurnBlackTheClock.org on Thursday, January 14 at 10AM ET.