According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, humanity has earned a 1-minute rollback on its famous Doomsday Clock.
Based on the calculations of the BAS, it is now 6 minutes to midnight, according to the organization, which cited a more "hopeful state of world affairs" in relation to the threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change.
To help roll the clock back further, the BAS outlined the need for action on new nuclear doctrines that disavow the use of existing nuclear weapons, implementing multinational management of the civilian nuclear energy fuel cycle, adopting and fulfilling climate change agreements to reduce carbon dioxide emission, and increasing public and private investments in alternatives to carbon-emitting energy sources, such as solar and wind, and in technologies for energy storage.
"The emerging trends in international cooperation will provide a basis for collaborative problem-solving for a safer world. But a handful of government officials, no matter how bold their vision, will not be able, on their own, to deal with the threats to civilization that we now face," said BAS Executive Director Kennette Benedict. "Leaders and citizens around the world will need to summon the courage to overcome obstacles to nuclear security and climate protection."
Created in 1947 by the BAS, the Doomsday Clock has been adjusted only 18 times prior to today, most recently in January 2007 and February 2002 after the events of 9/11.
By moving the hand of the clock away from midnight-the figurative end of civilization-the BAS board of directors said it is drawing attention to encouraging signs of progress.
The organization also revealed a Web platform, TurnBackTheClock.org, which allows people around the globe to monitor and get involved in efforts to move the Doomsday Clock farther away from midnight.