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Whether It’s a ‘Climate Emergency’ or Nuclear War: Doomsday Never Seems to Happen

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

From 1947 to today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, keepers of the “doomsday clock”—a holdover from the atomic age and Cold War—has predicted doom by moving the hands of a prop clock closer to or further away from midnight. Midnight represents a global doom disaster in progress.


In a breathless press release on January 23, which included a cameo from former California governor and climate activist Jerry Brown, the group announced that due to “climate change,” the world is 20 seconds closer to midnight, standing at 100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds) before midnight.

The scientists announced:

Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication—is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.

In essence, they are saying nuclear war and climate change are equivalent threats. Such a comparison is mind-bogglingly ridiculous.

Consider that climate change has no “hair trigger” like nuclear catastrophe does. Some despot or dictator who obtains a nuclear weapon is entirely different from the slow change of climate over 100 years.

Yet, these supposedly learned scientists have embraced the hype of “climate emergency” as if it was on par with a nuclear hair trigger. Lamenting the lack of action and interest in climate change, they write:


Lip service continued, with some governments now echoing many scientists’ use of the term “climate emergency.” But the policies and actions that governments proposed were hardly commensurate to an emergency. Exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels continues to grow.

Because all governments don’t sense an “emergency” and have not pulled the plug on electricity grids powered by fossil fuels, the Atomic Scientists are in despair.

They would actually like us to believe that we are presently in more danger of global apocalypse than during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 Really? Ask yourself this: Do you feel like climate change may burn your town to a crisp any day now? Do we need to implement “duck and cover” exercises for school kids in case the boogeyman of climate change sweeps down and attacks a city?

The threat comparison between nuclear war and climate change is patently absurd—there’s really no other way to describe it.

Interestingly, it wasn’t until 2007 that “climate change” became a main target on the radar of the atomic scientists. That was one year after Al Gore released his widely viewed scary movie known as An Inconvenient Truth. Since then, “climate change” has been listed as a doomsday factor in each of the eight clock adjustments.


It’s almost as if they swapped one boogeyman for another. Yet, look at the history of the doomsday clock:

Comparing “climate change” to the intensity of all the other threats, it seems completely out of place and of far less magnitude and urgency. Despite 73 years of predicting doomsday proximity, it has never materialized.

So again, with such a track record, ask yourself: Do you feel more threatened by nuclear armageddon, or the possibility of the climate changing?

Anthony Watts is former television meteorologist and Senior Fellow for Environment and Climate for The Heartland Institute. He operates the most viewed website on climate in the world, WattsUpWithThat.com

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