In deciding to keep the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have made it clear that humanity remains in the greatest danger.
The scientists recognised positive developments such as the renewal of the New START Treaty and ongoing US/Russian dialogue towards new arms control agreements; the Biden administration’s decision to seek to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran; and the announcement that the specific goal to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons” in US national security policy would be part of the forthcoming US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).
Yet they also recognised that these developments have not yet borne fruit in some areas – the restoration of the JCPOA seems increasingly distant, the overall message of the NPR seems not yet decided, and there are signs of new nuclear arms races as new weapons technologies and nuclear modernisations abound. What is very clear is that the direction of the Biden administration will be central to the resolution of all these issues. The scientists state very clearly that the contents of the NPR will have a major impact on where they place the hands of the clock next year.
CND General Secretary, Kate Hudson said: “This is the closest we have been to midnight since the inception of the Doomsday Clock 75 years ago.
“Unfortunately our leaders are not doing what it takes to make the world safer. They talk a good talk about their commitment to nuclear disarmament but then they announce a 40% increase in our nuclear arsenal. But dangers are not just present in military terms, there’s a failure to address the other existential threat – the climate catastrophe, and a failure to properly protect us during this pandemic; and there are also attempts to strip away our right to protest – a right that has never been more important.
“The world is as dangerous as ever but many are fighting to change these terrible policies – and we are part of that. Together we must act to turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock.”