Doomsday Clock ticks to 11:55 p.m., thanks in part to climate change

Cue ominous music: We’re edging closer to annihilation, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ famed Doomsday Clock — a symbolic measurement of how close civilization stands to ultra-mega-doom, or “midnight.” Yesterday, the group pushed its famed ticker two minutes forward to 11:55 p.m., adding climate change to its traditionally nuke-based calculations for the first time. “When we think about what technologies besides nuclear weapons could produce such devastation to the planet, we quickly came to carbon-emitting technologies,” says Executive Director Kennette Benedict. The clock has been adjusted 18 times since 1947; the nearest brush with midnight was a spine-tingling two minutes in 1953, and this latest tweak is the closest since 1984. Says renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, “We foresee great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.” By action now, he means in five minutes, right?