Despite two recently completed major international agreements addressing nuclear weapons and climate change, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is not moving the minute hand on its "Doomsday Clock" any further away from midnight, which represents the apocalypse.
The group on Tuesday left the clock at 11:57 p.m., where it has been for a year now, essentially predicting that the world remains closer to annihilation than at any time since 1983.
Tehran's treaty with six world powers and the United Nations to curb its nuclear weapons capability and November's historic international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions "constitute only small bright spots in a darker world situation full of potential for catastrophe," according to the scientific publication.
"Three minutes (to midnight) is too close; far too close," the bulletin's board stated. The decision not to adjust the clock "is not good news, but an expression of dismay that world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world's attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change," the statement continued.
"Even as the Iran agreement was hammered out, tensions between the United States and Russia rose to levels reminiscent of the worst periods of the Cold War," the statement read. "Conflict in Ukraine and Syria continued, accompanied by dangerous bluster and brinkmanship, with Turkey, a NATO member, shooting down a Russian warplane involved in Syria, the director of a state-run Russian news agency making statements about turning the United States to radioactive ash, and NATO and Russia repositioning military assets and conducting significant exercises with them."
The scientists also said they are discouraged that neither Washington nor Moscow seem committed to nuclear disarmament, despite their pledges codified in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The publication urged leaders to take the following steps: "dramatically reduce proposed spending on nuclear weapons modernization programs; re-energize the disarmament process, with a focus on results; engage North Korea to reduce nuclear risks; [and] follow up on the Paris accord with actions that sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fulfill the Paris promise of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius."
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is housed at the University of Chicago, where physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project founded it in 1945. The Doomsday Clock was unveiled in 1947 and has only been adjusted 21 times since.