Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content

Support PSR!

Make a difference in the challenge to confront global warming and prevent nuclear war and the development and use of nuclear weapons.

Donate Now »

Take Action

Tell Congress: Hands off the health protection that EPA is trying to provide! Protect us from methane and ozone emissions now!

A minute safer but still too close to doomsday

Posted by Peter Wilk, MD on January 14, 2010

 

In simultaneous events in London and New York, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the hands of the Doomsday clock back one minute (to six minutes to midnight) to indicate that we are a tiny bit safer and more hopeful of preventing a nuclear or climate catastrophe. Since its creation in 1947, the Doomsday Clock has been a symbolic barometer of the heightening or lessening nuclear threat – and, more recently, catastrophic global warming.  The clock has been moved 18 times since making its first appearance on the 1947 cover of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The reason for this positive change, according to BAS experts,  are the collaborative efforts by world leaders to reduce nuclear arsenals, make nuclear bomb-making materials more secure, pledge to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and in general, generate a more hopeful state of affairs globally. The Bulletin also stressed that President Barack Obama’s leadership and vision for a nuclear weapon free world, along with his push for deeper reduction in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and efforts to initiate negotiations with Iran to close its nuclear enrichment program, were all positive signs of progress that affected the decision to push the clock back.

So, should the U.S. and the world breathe a big sigh of relief now that we are minute safer from doomsday? Well, not so fast! As the world renowned physicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss announced at the press event, moving the clock back only a minute highlights the precariousness of the current global situation and how much work is yet to be done to make us truly safe. As Dr. Krauss emphasized, there is a great potential for the hands of the clock to move in either direction depending on how the current opportunity for progress is utilized or lost.

Physicians for Social Responsibility welcomes this positive news and echoes the Bulletin’s call for action. With almost 25,000 nuclear weapons present around the world and 95% or those in U.S. and Russian stockpile, we still have a long way to go in averting a nuclear catastrophe. While there has been some progress made in completing the new START agreement and the President has repeated his commitment to bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) up for a ratification vote, much work remains to make even these modest goals a reality. Both START and CTBT ratification will need 2/3 of senators voting in the affirmative. Furthermore, it is important to remember that START and CTBT are only modest steps to achieving the true security that would only come from global elimination of nuclear weapons and arresting the threat of climate change. That’s a task that will require America to lead in reducing its nuclear stockpile and greenhouse gas emissions.  It’s an effort that   needs the support of the American people, congress and the administration. Remember, the clock is still ticking!

 

 

Comments

Leave your comment

Name
Comment
Enter this word: Change

Action Alerts

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Health Impacts of Natural Gas Infrastructure

    Fracked natural gas contaminates air and water where it is extracted, then pipelines transport gas-related pollutants for hundreds of miles. Distant communities may be exposed to toxic air pollutants, dangerous particulates, and radioactive materials. All of us are endangered as methane leaks into the atmosphere. Read more »

  • Natural Gas: Not a healthy or climate-protective solution for the Clean Power Plan

    Building natural gas plants to replace coal-fired power is not a solution to the climate crisis; it merely replaces one fossil fuel with another. Read more »

  • Death by Degrees

    The sign of Global Warming are already here. “Death by Degrees” is a series of reports looking at the damaging health effects of global warming by states or regions within the United States. We encourage you to learn about the public health threats global warming poses in your state/ region and contact your elected officials to support climate policies that reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and supports energy efficiency, conservation and clean renewable energy production. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • November 30, 2016
    Eating for Climate and Health
    PSR's new PowerPoint presentation on how climate change impacts food production, and agriculture's contribution to climate change.