Comments by US President Donald Trump on nuclear weapons and climate change have helped make the world less safe, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned on Thursday, moving its symbolic “Doomsday Clock” 30 seconds closer to midnight.
The clock — which serves as a metaphor for how close humanity is to destroying the planet — was last changed in 2015, from five to three minutes before midnight.
It is now set at two and a half minutes to midnight, amid concerns about “a rise in strident nationalism worldwide, President Donald Trump’s comments on nuclear arms and climate issues, a darkening global security landscape that is colored by increasingly sophisticated technology, and a growing disregard for scientific expertise,” said a statement by the group of scientists and intellectuals, including 15 Nobel laureates.
Trump has made contradictory statements about climate change, at times calling it a hoax and other times saying he would keep an open mind about it.
On the nuclear issue, Trump said in December that the US must build up its nuclear arsenal.
“The Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than it has ever been in the lifetime of almost everyone in this room,” Lawrence Krauss, chair of the Bulletin’s board of sponsors, told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.
“The last time it was closer was 63 years ago in 1953 after the then Soviet Union exploded its first hydrogen bomb, creating the modern arms race,” he added.