LOS ANGELES - Climate change, nuclear threats, and other emerging dangers such as fake news and cyber terrorism factor into where scientists set the clock.
Based on the board’s conclusions, the minute hand has swayed closer and farther from midnight 22 times during the clock’s history. Our “safest” time was 1991, when we had a whole 17 minutes until destruction. It was a year that saw the official end of the Cold War and a reduction in nuclear arsenals.
The closest we’ve come to our theoretical destruction came in 1953 when both the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested their first thermonuclear weapons. The clock stood at 2 minutes until midnight -- the only time in 64 years it’s been closer than it is now.
Scientists confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump’s loose nuclear rhetoric played a part, as well as the new administration’s stance on global warming.
Luckily the clock is hypothetical, and there is still time to do something about it. Watch the video to see how the clock moved 30 seconds closer to midnight.