There’s a Doomsday Clock counting down to the end of the world... and it’s just been moved forward

Ever heard of the Doomsday Clock?

It’s a symbolic chart used by 17 Nobel Prize winning scientists, including Prof Stephen Hawking, to show how close we are as a civilisation to extinction.

It’s been set at five minutes to midnight for years (midnight is, of course, the death of everyone) but the scientists, known as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, have moved the clock’s hand forward two minutes.

“Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernisation of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity,” said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the group.

“And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures potentially endanger every person on Earth,” she added.

Nuclear weapons were thought to be one of the biggest threats to humanity’s future, said the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, with greenhouse gases also posing a growing threat.

The clock read 7 minutes to midnight in 1947 when it was established, not long after the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It has been moved forward and back 19 times now, with the closest to oblivion man has ever been was in 1953 when the US aimed to create the hydrogen bomb, when it read 11.58.

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