Climate Change

Published on January 10th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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Doomsday Clock: 5 Minutes to Midnight Now

January 10th, 2012 by

 

doomsday clock at five minutes to midnight

Doomsday Clock indicates we’ve got few, precious minutes left to invent a time machine… sort of.

The Doomsday Clock, which has been running since 1947, is a symbolic clock face that is supposed to indicate how close we are to global disaster. It is maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago.

But why do you care about all this all of a sudden?

Well, you must have heard that the minute hand on the clock was moved closer to midnight, or doomsday, today. But why?

History of Doomsday Clock & Why the Update

The clock originally was focused on how close we were to global nuclear war. However, with changing threats, it now represents how close we are to other huge global threats as well, most notably irreversible and tremendously catastrophic damage from global warming and climate change. This change today was due to our lack of action on global warming (something we write about nearly every day here on Planetsave) as well as increased nuclear proliferation and use of unsafe, unsustainable energy options (i.e. nuclear, coal, and oil).

“It is five minutes to midnight,” the scientists said. “Two years ago it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed.”

Some scientists also noted how we have trended away from paying attention to science.

“A cross-cutting issue through the entire discussion is the worrisome trend to reject or diminish the significance of what science says is the characteristic of a problem,” said Robert Socolow of Princeton’s Environmental Institute. “There is a general judgement among us that we need the political leadership to affirm the primacy of science.”

Via The Guardian: “The scientists also noted how Republicans seeking the GOP nomination were trying to outdo each other in denying climate science.”

The scientists also focused a lot on nuclear proliferation and the risks of nuclear power, however.

Note that this is just the 20th time the clock’s hands have been moved, not something the board of directors takes lightly. It was moved from 6 minutes to midnight to 5 minutes to midnight.

Solutions to Global Warming Doomsday Are Here Today, & Cheap

For a full list of Doomsday Clock changes, you can check out the Wikipedia page on the clock. The closest it has ever been to midnight is 2 minutes, and the farthest is 17 minutes. However, before closing this article out, I’ll just make a few points on global warming:

1. As you can see in some of the articles in our sidebar on the right side of this article (–>), climate scientists (aka climatologists) are certain that both the world is warming at a tremendous and concerning rate and the humans are causing that warming. Feel free to drop us a comment below if you’d like even more information on that than is provided in those posts. Unfortunately, the urgency of the matter doesn’t seem to have extended from scientists to politicians (and even some portions of society) yet. Thus, the tick on the Doomsday Clock.

2. We have the technology we need to combat global warming. We have it today. In some parts of the world and country, that technology (e.g. wind turbines and solar panels) is cheaper than any other option… even not counting the tremendous costs of global warming and climate change. Energy efficient products and energy conservation, other key solutions, are also intelligent money savers. Electric vehicles are now available at a good price, especially if you look at the long-term cost of a vehicle and fuel costs. Of course, bicycling and transit even trump those most of the time, and are good options around the world.

So, we have the solutions. We are aware of the problem (scientists, and even a “Doomsday Clock,” are warning us about them). All we have to do is make simple policy changes (or, if we’re not policymakers, push our representatives to do so) and green our life.

Let’s get on it!

Doomsday Clock via K. Aainsqatsi

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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