"A new abnormal: It is still two minutes to midnight," the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said Thursday in revealing its Doomsday Clock, the symbolic timepiece representing humanity's proximity to an apocalypse of its own making. Never before has the clock been closer to midnight, reports CBS Chicago. The current reading of 11:58—decided among board members, including 15 Nobel laureates—was first reached at the height of the Cold War in 1953, then again last year. "We expect to be here for some time, in this precarious situation, which is why we're calling it the 'new abnormal,'" CEO Rachel Bronson tells the Washington Post. Per NBC News, she notes there is in fact "nothing normal about the complex and frightening reality we are describing."
The University of Chicago-based group cites climate change as one of two major threats, highlighting a global rise in carbon dioxide emissions and the "beleaguered" Paris climate agreement. "We're running out of time,” says board member Susan Soloman. "If we don't start reducing emissions in this next decade, it's pretty clear we'll have a world we don't want to live in." The US gets called out specifically in regard to the other issue: nuclear weapons. America took "grave steps towards a complete dismantlement of the global arms control process" in announcing exits from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and Iran nuclear deal, the group says. What's more, the US and Russia have "proceeded with programs of 'nuclear modernization' that are all but indistinguishable from a worldwide arms race." (Trump was faulted in 2018.)