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This decision by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – who set the clock’s hands every year – indicates a continuing very high risk of nuclear warfare and environmental catastrophe. While glimmers of light are welcomed – in the form of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the renewal of the New START Treaty, and the resilience of renewable energy forms during the pandemic, the scientists conclude that there is still an enormous amount of work to do to reverse the negative trends and ensure a future for humanity.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson comments:

“In a time of extraordinary challenges facing us all, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has decided that nuclear war and climate change continue to be the two existential threats that humanity faces. They have noted the terrible impact of the pandemic, and the increase in disease and biological threats – but they rightly observe that Covid-19 will not obliterate civilisation and the disease will eventually recede. So while government and society take urgent steps to deal with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, it must also address the fundamental problems that put all our futures at risk.

“The steps taken – very welcome as they are – to return to crucial arms control treaties and to bring the TPNW into force, are not sufficient to reduce the risk when nuclear-weapons states have also chosen to modernise their nuclear arsenals.

“Global threats need a global response and international cooperation must be the order of the day on all fronts. Now is the time for the UK government to heed expert warnings, change track and take serious steps to remove nuclear weapons from the UK.”