The hands of the iconic “Doomsday Clock” have been moved forward to read 3 minutes from midnight. The last time the world was 3 minutes to midnight was during the Cold War in 1984.

The metaphorical clock is managed by the Science and Security Board of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and signals the grim outlook the group has on the world's future if attentions aren't paid to growing climate change and nuclear arsenals. Megan Gannon from Live Science reported that the board decided to move the time from 5 minutes to midnight where its hands have rested for the past three years--since 2012.

Granted, the board is by no means predicting the world's demise, rather the clock is used as a tool to warn the public about how close we are to a global catastrophe. It has been maintained as a symbol to the world since 1947 as a warning that humanity is deadly-close to a global disaster. After the Atomic Bombs were dropped in Japan, the clock has warned of nuclear disaster, but since 2007 the board has also considered the irreversible damages of climate change, adding the threat to their doomsday predictions. The furthest the clock has ever been from midnight was when it was moved to 11:43, when the Soviet Union and the United States signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991.

Since then the clock has been inching ever-forward. The lack of global action toward resolving the climate change crisis, which scientists predict the Earth will be 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by the end of century; there's also the he halted efforts of nations to scale back their nuclear arms; and rising global tensions have only convinced the board that the world needs to act in order to step back from this metaphorical ledge.

Kennette Benedict, Executive Director of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists spoke to reporters in Washington D.C. about the board's decision:

"We are not saying it is too late to take action but the window for action is closing rapidly. We move the clock hand today to inspire action."

Read more at Live Science

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