Scientists at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just announced that things are not looking too good for humanity or for planet Earth. Today, in a press release, they stated that our unchecked interference with Earth's natural systems, and our irresponsible mismanagement of its resources, have left us in a rather bad position. The Doomsday Clock was moved to just 3 minutes to midnight.
Of course, the state of our nuclear weapons facilities are a factor as well.
In the release, the scientists assert: "In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth."
They continue by noting that global warming is one of the key threats to our world. Although we have made small advancements in this arena, the scientists at the Bulletin assert that we don't need small advancements. We need a widespread cultural shift. They state, "Despite some modestly positive developments in the climate change arena in the past year, reflecting continued advancement of renewable energy technologies, current efforts are entirely insufficient to prevent a catastrophic warming of Earth."
Ultimately, the issue is not people who leave the refrigerator open, set the heat too high, or don't recycle. The issue is production and consumption on a massive scale. The issue is consumerism. Thus, the issue is our society...our industry. Until that alters, we will continue down the path towards apocalypse.
At least, that's what experts in the field assert.
According to environmental scientists, 2014 was the hottest year in our 134 years of record keeping. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2000. And the scientists assert that this pattern is deeply disconcerting. Taking a look at the geological record does not quell these fears. Rather, we see that greenhouse gasses are soaring compared to previous eras. Indeed, 97% of scientists assert that this trend is distinctly anthropogenic (man-made) in nature.
The science is clear: Insufficient action to slash worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases can produce global climatic catastrophe. Even a so-called “limited” nuclear weapons exchange will produce massive casualties and severe effects on the global environment. We implore the political leaders of the world to take coordinated, quick action to drastically reduce global emissions of heat-trapping gases, especially carbon dioxide, and shrink nuclear weapons arsenals.
WATCH: NASA on Global Warming
Yet, all is not lost, or even nearly so. We still have the power to change things. However, in order to do so, we must have an engaged and informed public that looks to science, not economics. They continue, "The world has technological and policy options available at entirely acceptable costs. Time is short, but it has not yet run out. Our leaders and our institutions of global cooperation and governance can yet rise to the challenge. But rise they must, and quickly."
Do you think that the threat is as imminent as the scientists assert? And if so, what should be done to prevent an ecological catastrophe?
The Bullitin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by several scientists who had assisted in the creation of the first atomic bombs. The Doomsday Clock came out just two years later, in 1947. Scientists behind the creation of this clock used the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet.
Each year, the decision to leave the clock as it is or change its position is made by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes some 17 Nobel laureates.