The Bulletin's statement outlined concrete steps for both politicians and citizens to take to reduce these risks, including re-entering key arms control agreements, demanding action on climate change and creating global discussions on how to reduce disinformation. Midnight on the clock is a metaphor for "global catastrophe", and according to the worldwide organization, humanity is now the closest it's ever been to the brink of total destruction since the clock's establishment in 1947.
She added: "It is 100 seconds to midnight".
The Doomsday Clock reads 100 seconds to midnight, a decision made by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, during an announcement at the National Press Club, in Washington, on January 23, 2020.
"We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds - not hours, or even minutes. Now is the time to come together-to unite and to act".
What is the closest the Doomsday Clock has been to midnight?
In moving forward the metaphorical clock, which reflects the time humanity has left to avert a civilization-ending apocalypse, the Bulletin cited backwards moves on arms control from multiple countries, lack of action on climate change and the rise of 'information warfare'.
When the Clock was created in 1947, the greatest threat to humanity was nuclear war as the United States and Soviet Union were headed into a nuclear arms race.
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For more than a decade, the Doomsday Clock's setting has reflected the threat posed by nuclear weaponry as well as the human-caused climate crisis. "We now face a true emergency - an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay", Atomic Scientists president and CEO Rachel Bronson said in a statement. It remained unchanged in 2019, and is now at two minutes to midnight. Unnatural disasters feel non-stop.
While the Bulletin broadly encouraged citizens across the globe to pressure their governments to pursue bold policies to avert climate catastrophe, it drew specific attention to the United States, pointing out that in November 2019, President Donald Trump fulfilled his longtime promise to begin the lengthy process of withdrawing the US from the Paris agreement. "Today we feel no more optimistic". And after putting it at a unsafe two minutes from apocalypse for the last few years in a row, scientists upped their prediction to an unprecedented 100 seconds on Thursday.
The clock has been reset dozens of times since its debut in 1947.
Mr Ban said "our mechanisms for collaboration are being undermined when we need them most", citing the USA withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal to deadlock at nuclear disarmament talks, as well as divisions in the UN Security Council.
'In democracies, we try to encourage people to talk to their political representatives that these huge investments that are going into nuclear arsenals might be directed elsewhere.
The clock was farthest from midnight in 1991, when it was moved back to 17 minutes after the USA and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.