CLIMATE CHANGE AND NUCLEAR TENSIONS
PUSH DOOMSDAY CLOCK HANDS FORWARD
“Extraordinary and Undeniable” Climate, Weapons Threats Cited for Movement;
Doomsday Clock Adjustment is 1st in 3 Years and is Accompanied by Urgent Call for Action.
For US regulators, 2014 was a banner year for collecting fines against sanctions violators, according to The Economist. In June, BNP Paribas—France’s largest bank, and one of the largest in the world—agreed to shell out $9 billion to the US Department of Justice for violating sanctions against Cuba, Iran, and Sudan.
If you’ve followed the rolling scandals that have afflicted the US intercontinental ballistic missile force, you know how tawdry and pathetic the revelations have been. Taking the cake for tawdriness was Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, the man then in charge of all the nation’s ICBMs, who in 2013 took an official trip to Moscow and got himself good and drunk.
Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet.
Several years ago, my daughter brought her future husband home for the first time for dinner. He was then a uniformed officer in the Office of Naval Reactors, housed in the Energy Department. I was serving in the Energy Department at that time as well and was more than curious about what this prospective son-in-law did there. Over dessert, in the tradition of Adm. Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy, he politely insisted that Naval Reactors runs itself, in de facto isolation from DOE management, as codified by law.
Last year was difficult for nuclear disarmament. Russia’s move to annex Crimea, and the thinly veiled invasion in the Eastern Ukraine that followed, revived old worries about stability in Europe and fears of a return to the confrontation that the end of the Cold War seemed to have left firmly in the past.