Greta Thunberg Inspires Doomsday Clock To Be Moved 100 Seconds To Midnight

by : Julia Banim on : 23 Jan 2020 16:23
Doomsday clockDoomsday clockJulia Banim

There’s still over a week left in January, and yet it feels as though this grim month has lasted all eternity.

None of my healthy post-Christmas season food tastes nice, and my last few fivers are drying up like leaves on a bonfire of crushing debt. And, to make matters worse, I have just been reminded of mankind’s fragility in the face of catastrophe.


Yup. The Doomsday Clock has just moved 100 seconds to midnight, and weekend drinks cannot come soon enough.

Doomsday clockDoomsday clockPA

With those happily unfamiliar with this harbinger of doom, allow me to thoroughly ruin your Thursday for you. Each year the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists update what is known as the Doomsday Clock.

This grim clock is intended to warn the public just how close we are to destroying the planet. It’s not, of course, an actual countdown, but it does provide a terrifying reminder of the damage we humans are continuing to bring upon ourselves.


For three out of the last four years, the Doomsday Clock has moved closer to midnight. Although it remained still in 2019, the minute hand was set forward in 2018 by 30 seconds, bringing it up to two minutes before midnight.

The Doomsday Clock was brought forward to two and a half minutes to midnight in 2017, a thirty second difference from the 2016 setting of three minutes to midnight. Basically, we as a species suck and need to make drastic changes to stop those fateful hands from ticking any further.

Doomsday clockDoomsday clockPA

The metaphorical clock was first created in 1947, a time when the greatest threat to humanity was nuclear war was the nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union.


This year, the three worsening factors contributing to this winding forward are nuclear weapons, cyber-based disinformation and, of course, climate change.

On the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ website, they state:

As far as the Bulletin and the Doomsday Clock are concerned, the world has entered into the realm of the two-minute warning, a period when danger is high and the margin for error low. The moment demands attention and new, creative responses.

If decision makers continue to fail to act—pretending that being inside two minutes is no more urgent than the preceding period—citizens around the world should rightfully echo the words of climate activist Greta Thunberg and ask: “How dare you?”

Fallout shelterFallout shelterPA

In terms of the growing threat of climate change, a press release from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists emphasised how this issue had been brought to the forefront in 2019, thank to the work of young, passionate protesters:

Public awareness of the climate crisis grew over the course of 2019, largely because of mass protests by young people around the world. Just the same, governmental action on climate change still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand.

At UN climate meetings last year, national delegates made fine speeches but put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions that are disrupting Earth’s climate.

This limited political response came during a year when the effects of manmade climate change were manifested by one of the warmest years on record, extensive wildfires, and quicker-than-expected melting of glacial ice.

2019 was the year teenage activist Greta Thunberg was named Time person of the year, after she inspired thousands of young people across the globe to rise up and demand greater action against climate change.

Greta Thunberg in Madrid, Spain for COP25Greta Thunberg in Madrid, Spain for COP25PA Images

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have advised nations to publicly rededicate themselves to the temperature goal specified in the Paris climate agreement, which restricts warming ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial level.

In order to achieve this, industrialised countries should curb emissions quickly, going beyond ‘initial, inadequate pledges’ while supporting developing countries so they might bypass ‘entrenched, fossil fuel-intensive patterns’.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Greta Thunberg


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