Climate Threat Advances “Doomsday Clock”

nuclear blastExperts assessing the dangers posed to civilisation have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.” The “Doomsday Clock”, established in 1947 by the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” to warn the world of the dangers of nuclear weapons, was just moved from 7 to 5 minutes to midnight largely on the basis of climate change concerns. In addition to highlighting continued concerns with nuclear warfare (which in itself would dramatically alter the climate), and particularly proliferation as nuclear energy spreads, for the first time the clock moved because of “destruction of human habitats wreaked by climate change brought on by human activities… global warming poses a dire threat to human civilization that is second only to nuclear weapons.” Since its inception the clock has moved from as much as 17 minutes to 2 minutes to doomsday. The recent change is the first since 2002. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said “we foresee great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.” We at EcoInternet concur. No one can say with certainty how soon if ever the human race will annihilate itself. Yet with the basic science that humankind is causing global heating settled, and many of the projections made regarding impacts upon the Earth of over-population and environmental destruction coming true (in some cases many times more abruptly than expected), and with increasing militarization including nuclear, clearly humanity has moved more closely to its own demise.

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12 Responses

  1. David Wheeler says:

    Oh dear…why am I such a bloody sceptical type? It would be so much easier to jump on the bandwagon, but instead there's something inside which keeps shouting: “Codswallop!” Domesday clock indeed! We are theoretically a few theoretical minutes closer to theoretical destruction. Well, let's see shall we? When we globally warm, or bomb, ourselves back into the Stone Age, I will come back cap in hand: “Sorry guys, you were right all along!” But I doubt it. I'm sorry – I really don't wish to be belligerent, or to deliberately wind you up, but there have been domesday warnings throughout history, and I don't buy it (even though I will monitor my eco-footprint, just in case!)

  2. For some of the world's most vulnerable peoples, the clock seems to have already struck.
    Look at the abnormal droughts in Central Uganda impacting hundreds of thousands or the possibility that climate change might be playing a role in the horrors of Darfur today?
    If this is the case, apocalypse is really just a matter of scale.

  3. ewoc says:

    David,
    Thanks for your sense of humor. Never heard the word “codswallop” before! Always knew the Brits had it all over us Yanks in terms of humor and use of language.
    Methinks you are intentionally naive on the issue of climate change, but I hope that you read the IPCC report due out 2nd February and take it seriously, b/c it represents the work of thousands of scientists from around the world. While it will not (at least according to my sources) tell us that the end is nigh, it will (we hope) spur serious action on the issue. From all accounts, the current US Congressional majority is listening.
    Thought we were making progress in your case, but I guess that was wrong!

  4. Dan Blossfeld says:

    Why should we read the IPCC report this time. The last one was so full of holes to be absolutely worthless. I may read it, but take it seriously? Come on.

  5. ewoc says:

    Yes, that's right. “Absolutely worthless.” Actually, thousands of scientists worldwide are conspiring with Al Gore to control US public opinion and get rich from the grants they receive at night from the black UN helicopters that drop bags of cash from the sky.
    Let us instead consult Nostradamus for accurate analysis of current data on climate. Better yet, let's dial in Rush's show or turn on Fox. No spin for us!

  6. kerry martin says:

    Dear David Wheeler… If you really don't want to be belligerent or deliberatly wind us up, then please stop clogging up these pages with your belligerent wind-ups?
    OK. I accept that you don't believe. Everybody else here does. So please be reasonable, and go your sweet way.
    Personally I want to know WHAT MORE CAN I DO?
    Not waste time like this.

  7. Anthony says:

    Now the grave threat of climate change is awakening in the minds of the public round the developed world.For 15 years the media and politicians have treated the phenomenon with:I don't believe it or let's wait and see. But again those farsighted men of science were aware of the gravity way back in the late eighties and early nineties and extract from the second to last chapter of “It's a matter of survival” based on the Canadian radio series of the same name and put into book form: Authors Suzuki and Gordon:
    “In 1986 and 1987 the Environment and Public Works Committee of the U.S. Senate asked a dozen leading scientists from the United states and abroad to testify at extensive hearings. Wallace S. Broecker, a geochemist at Columbia University, spoke for many:
    “The inhabitants of planet Earth are quietly conducting a gigantic environmental experiment. So vast and so sweeping will be the impacts of this experiment that were it brought before any responsible council for approval, it would be firmly rejected as having potentially dangerous consequences. Yet the experiment goes on with no significant interference from any jurisdiction or nation. The experiment in question is the release of carbon dioxide and other so -called greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.”
    Preventing these gases from turning the Earth into a hothouse over the next 50 years means just one thing:we're not going to get away with anything less than”an all-out attack, an all- out assault on the whole process of fossil-fuel combustion everywhere, in order to save the planet,” says Stephen Lewis, Lewis, former Canadian Ambassador to the U.N., chaired the 1988 International Conference on global warming in Toronto.What emerged from the June meeting attended by more than 300 scientists from around the world was the first global scientific consensus that not only are we entering an era of unprecedented climate change, but we're going to have to act in the 1990s to slash carbon dioxide emissions.”It is imperative to act now!” stated the meeting's final communique, which called for a worldwide 20% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2005. An even tougher line has since come out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: in order to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide at current levels, carbon emissions must be cut by 50 to 80 percent. And in May 1990, the U.N. IPCC warned that if carbon dioxide emissions are not cut by 60% immediately, the changes in the next 60 years will be so rapid that nature will be unable to adapt and man incapable of controlling them.
    With those figures in mind, Lewis says, the writing is on the wall. The major policy of the Western world has to be “to virtually eliminate dependence on fossil fuels overall, as fast as is humanly possible to achieve.”
    ……”We cannot have all the conveniences of our lives-the VCRs, the all-terrain vehicles, the two-car garages,homes filled with all kinds of gadgets-and an easier life, if they're powered by the combustion of fossil fuels,” says Doug Scott.
    Stephen Lewis concurs:” It's a challenge to the whole economic order. It's a challenge to capitalism as we know it: all the things we take for granted and assume are part of the comfort of Western Capitalist society are going to be very seriously challenged.” he notes that the obstacles to survival that must be overcome must replace entrenched regional and national economic preoccupations as a political bellwether.Overcoming them will require tough decisions that may, in the short term, be unpopular.multinational corporations must be brought in line, especially oil companies, who will not want to see their profit margins erode. Consumer patterns must change. Because mandatory restraint fares badly on the hustings, Stephen Lewis thinks western Governments over the next couple of years will do the absolute minimum, even though “this is a desperate race for time.”
    ……the mandate for survival is broad,far-reaching and uncompromising. It embraces all aspects of our lives.Eliminating fossil fuels means nothing less than a massive shift from the use of cars to the use of public transport;it means a universal moratorium on the use of oil and coal and the substitution of natural gas as a transition fuel;it means a worldwide adoption of alternative forms of energy, from solar to thermal,and so on.It means large scale reforestation in developed and developing countries,it means taking dead aim at the cause of global warming, and moving fast, in the next 10 years to eliminate it.
    ……The problem is urgent, says Woodwell: the more the Earth warms, the more it will warm.The carbon dioxide that has been dumped into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution has already guaranteed that the Earth will warm a degree or two in the next several decades. The crux of the problem is that once started the warming is continuous. “The Earth is not simply moving toward a new equilibrium on temperature, through a brief period of adjustment,” says Woodwell.It is entering a period of continuous,progressive,open-ended warming.There is nothing that will hold the increase of greenhouse gases to a doubling, unless we stop their production.
    ……Arthur Rosenfeld sees that possibility all too clearly:
    “We will flirt with carbon dioxide until we have several hot summers in a row, but by then we will have come closer to danger. I think that If we can keep global warming down to something like 4C there's a 90% chance that all it will cost us is money and discomfort. But there's a 10% chance that we will stub our toe on some ecological uncertainty-forests dying too fast,tundra rotting too fast, ocean currents changing, air currents changing-that will set the world off on an instability, and then the warming will be very sudden. We could go cold turkey on fossil fuels and it wouldn't do any good whatsoever, because the carbon dioxide would then be coming from the dying forests. And then we would be talking about whether 10% of mankind can survive, not how much it is going to cost us.””
    Now, not 4C But 2C is considered the dangerous threshhold.Also the aforesaid is in contradiction to the Stern report! cutting back and/or eliminating emissions is about maintaining our standard of living in despite of that pesky reacting biosphere,an economist's point of illusion,No, eliminating fossil fuel emissions is a matter of will we,the human race,SURVIVE THE COMING HEATING OF OUR PLANET,AN EXISTENTIAL QUESTION NOT AN ECONOMIC ONE!

  8. David Wheeler says:

    OK, Kerry Martin, I know when I'm not wanted. I'll bid you adieu. But first, to your question, What more can you do? The answer, since global warming is, in all probability, the result of natural cycles, is “Nothing!” Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride that is life, whatever it throws in your path. You are on this planet in order that your soul can experience what it's like to be clothed in physical matter – not to wring your hands and ruin your day over things way out of your ken or control – Farewell!

  9. kerry says:

    Thank you David. Adieu to you too, and have a nice life!
    My soul LOVES being clothed in physical matter, and utterly enjoys being immersed in the wonders of Nature, and this soul has been mourning for thirty years over the devastation our species has ignorantly inflicted on our Living Earth, and this soul has long ago reduced her physical footprint to the smallest possible – by doing without.
    Nevertheless, this soul still has to lift her spirits every morning that she wakes, and ask her cellf and her beloved Earth “What more can I DO?”
    The reason I ask “What more can I DO?” is precisely because I don't want to wring my hands and fall in to despair, and I am NOT a “get the most I can for myself while I can still get it” type. I still have a naïve faith in human beings (I am a bit Anne Frank) and for me it won't be over until the very thin lady has dropped dead!
    “Even if I knew I was going to die tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree”…
    That's Martin Luther King I think. We must keep our spirits up somehow, for apathetic cynical fatalism could kill us all quicker than global heating!
    Although many of us have been crying “Wake up!” since the seventies, the fact is, the majority of the affluent public are only just waking up to the problem now. The last six months has seen a massive shift in awareness. This means, after three decades of frustration, that SOON! we will be able to actually TRY DOING SOME THINGS.
    Of course our efforts may not succeed. But unless we try doing some things, we will never know. Doing nothing at all to mitigate or adapt is a sure recipe for disaster.
    When I say “What can I DO?” I suppose I have been grappling with how exactly to best get into politics as Al Gore recommends…
    What can ordinary individuals do, apolitically, to put the maximum effective pressure upon all media, governments, industry and the “ignorant masses”… So that the radical actions we need to take in this “ten years” of grace, actually get taken.
    Here are some ideas my family has come up with in the last three months…
    Science has been so obsessed with proving that the crisis is coming, that it has neglected to explore the practical “What can we do?” question.
    So here is one thing that we CAN all do immediately… DEMAND THAT FUNDS FOR RESEARCH, EDUCATION & PRACTICAL ACTION BE MASSIVELY INCREASED! Immediately.
    And here is another VERY PRACTICAL IDEA… which would encourage current governments to actually DO this as soon as possible

  10. Sh1n3B0x says:

    dont worry people, its a blip it the cycle due to the higher out put of the sun, but im pretty positve it my trigger an ice age 😛 maby as soon as 2012… what do you think??? considering we are 12500 years in to are interglacial and they only usualy last for 12000 give or take a few years ?!?!?! also did ant one every think that a major volcanic eruption cases far more damage that what we humans have ever done? its the earths way of burning fossil fuels!!!!
    thank's,
    and please feel free to email me @ shinebox@hotmail.co.uk
    Lord Sh1n3B0x

  11. soundofanangel says:

    Hmm, yes, 2012
    The year in wich humankind really starts to suffer from thirst, famine and violence.
    Call it a blip, we call it a disrespect to God's creation. Dream on humankind, enjoy your 'prosperity' while it lasts, because not one human will escape Mother's reaction.

  12. Lord Sh1n3B0x says:

    That is very true, but i really dont think WE ARE 100% to blame. This is the earth's cycle it was going to happen, and we have aided or prehaps mutated what was going to happen, and within our lifespan we will see the outcome. What about the USA army?!?! between 1945 and 1969 they tested 400+ nucler bomb's ?!?!?! what the **** was they thinking also the UK and Russia did the same!
    Think about that……

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