The planet moved significantly closer to a catastrophic event this week as Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency, according to a new report.
The planet’s Doomsday Clock is now two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, which represents a global catastrophe. It’s the closest the measure has been to midnight since the successful testing of hydrogen bombs in 1953. The new position represents a 30-second lurch forward from the previous position.
A group of nuclear scientists affiliated with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists determine when to move the clock in response to a number of threats from nuclear security to climate change. The formal report notes a slew of factors that contributed to the change including crumbling international relations, slow efforts to address climate change and declining global support for democracy.
“The most important contributing factor to moving the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight is the rise of Donald Trump,” said Derek Johnson, executive director of the Global Zero to eliminate nuclear weapons. “This is no time to ‘wait and see.’ We must act urgently.”
The report notes that Trump has control of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and has vowed on at least on occasion to start a new nuclear arms race. He has also questioned why the U.S. should not use its nuclear weapons if we have them, according to the report.