FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer To Midnight; Well-Known ASU Physicist Says Public Pressure Needed To "Turn Back From The Brink"

Well-known ASU physicist Lawrence Krauss helped announce today that the Doomsday Clock now stands at 2 1/2 minutes to midnight. That is the closest it has been to doomsday since 1953, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists listed it at two minutes to midnight. For the past couple of years, the clock was at 3 minutes to midnight.

Krauss chairs the Board of the Bulletin that determines the clock's setting each year, and he told Arizona's Politics yesterday "in the 70 years since the clock was created, this year stands out for importance."  He said that "international tensions are high and international cooperation is low, thanks in part to proposed policies by the new (Trump) administration."  (his full statement is below)

After the early days of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950's, the clock was set back in the 1960's as the U.S. and Soviet Union worked to avoid direct conflict. It then reached three minutes to midnight in 1984, saying U.S./Soviet relations were iciest in decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the clock reached its farthest from midnight in 1991.  Subsequent decisions to move the clock closer to midnight have also factored in "the nearly inexorable climate disruptions from global warming."

Krauss says "turning back from the brink will require public pressure to create sound policies in which nuclear weapons are not considered usable." As for climate change, he notes that the public and state governments need to lead "because it does not appear as if national governments are."

Krauss is the Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and Foundation Professor at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department.

Krauss' full comments to Arizona's Politics:


"In the 70 years since the clock was created, this year stands out for importance in my mind.  Certainly the clock announcement this year is more important than at any time since I have been on the Board of the Bulletin, and more important than at any time during which I have chairing the Board.   On existential threats including climate change and nuclear weapons, international tensions are high and international cooperation is low, thanks in part to proposed policies by the new administration.  Actions speak louder than words, but words matter.  Turning back from the brink will require public pressure to create sound policies in which nuclear weapons are not considered usable, and faced with the third consecutive global warmest year on record, with more energy for devastating storms, and debilitating summer temperatures, the public, and state governments needs to lead here, because it does not appear as if national governments are."

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