Due in large part to our inaction on climate change we are moving ever closer to an apocalypse. On Thursday January 22, 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moved the doomsday clock two minutes closer to midnight. This timepiece is meant to symbolize our proximity to global catastrophe. It was created in 1947 to symbolize the likelihood of a nuclear war, however, it has subsequently been adapted to incorporate other threats. For the last three years we have been stalled at five minutes to midnight, we are now only three minutes before the end.
According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists executive director Kennette Benedict, concerns about anthropogenic climate change is the primary reason why the hands were moved forward. The other reason is the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“World leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from catastrophe,” Benedict said. “Stunning governmental failures have imperiled civilization on a global scale.”
World leaders are not acting fast enough to act on reducing the emissions that cause climate change. In 2009 they agreed that we should not exceed an upper warming threshold limit of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), however, we are currently on track to see warming of at least four times that amount by the end of the century.
“To profoundly transform the Earth’s climate will harm millions of people, and threaten many key ecological systems upon which humanity relies,” said Richard Somerville, a member of the board and a research professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. “To avoid such unacceptable levels of climate change, the need for urgent action instead of continued procrastination is clear.”
The clock is not meant to foster resignation it is meant to provide impetus for action.
“This threat looms over all of humanity,” said Somerville. “We need to respond now while there is still time.”