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Gorbachev, Doomsday Clock Warn of Global Catastrophe a Week Into Trump's Presidency

Keepers of the Doomsday Clock move the symbolic countdown to potential global catastrophe 30 seconds closer to midnight based on President Trump's recent comments.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists move the Doomsday Clock to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, January 26, 2017.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

The keepers of the Doomsday Clock have moved the symbolic countdown to potential global catastrophe 30 seconds closer to midnight based on President Donald Trump's comments on nuclear weapons and climate change.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in a statement accompanying the move Thursday, cited "wavering public confidence in the democratic institutions required to deal with major world threats." It says "deception campaigns" by Russia to disrupt the U.S. election have made the world more dangerous by bringing "American democracy and Russian intentions into question."

The Doomsday Clock now stands at 2 ½ minutes to midnight, the closest it has been since the 1950s.

NBC News

The clock is a visual representation of how close the Bulletin believes the world is to catastrophe brought on by nuclear weapons, climate change and new technologies.

Fomer Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev echoed a similar sentiment this week, warning against a nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Russia, which would jeopardize humanity. "Relations between the great powers have been going from bad to worse for several years now," former Gorbachev said in an article published in Time magazine. "The advocates for arms buildup and the military-industrial complex are rubbing their hands. We need to resume political dialogue."

Warning that "the nuclear threat once again seems real," Gorbachev urged Trump and Putin to initiate a United Nations Security Council resolution stating that "nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought."

He emphasized that the two leaders bear a special responsibility as "presidents of two nations that hold over 90% of the world's nuclear arsenals."