Experts from the US science magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists see humanity as close to the end of the world as never before. The “Doomsday Clock” they control shows 100 seconds before 12 noon in 2021, as in the previous year. The researchers cite the incorrect handling of the corona pandemic as the main reason for the renewed warning.
Magazine President Rachel Bronson spoke in light of the grave global health crisis associated with the virus of a “historic wake-up call”. Governments, institutions and a “misguided public” are still poorly or poorly prepared to deal with even greater threats from nuclear war and ongoing climate change.
“Science is no longer taken seriously”
The main problem is that science is “no longer being taken seriously,” explained Bronson, for example because of the policy promoted by ex-US President Donald Trump. Last year, researchers in the USA and many other countries ignored the first warnings about the corona risks.
With the arrival of US President Joe Biden there are “bright spots” on the danger map, said Bronson. But humanity still has a lot of work to do to make the risks controllable and to avert the apocalypse. The doomsday clock was the furthest away from midnight at 17 minutes in 1991 after the end of the Cold War.
Climate change, nuclear weapons
Bronson’s colleague Susan Solomon looked at climate change. The CO2-Emissions had fallen globally by around 17 percent with the initial lockdowns, but rose again quickly. “Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2020,” said the environmental researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Steve Fetter, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, adds that the risks from nuclear weapons remain intolerable. Russia and the US could launch thousands of nuclear-headed missiles in seconds. Other countries such as China, Pakistan, India, North Korea and Iran also worked on building, increasing or modernizing their arsenals. In addition, there are hardly any assessable threats from hypersonic, cyber and space weapons.