Doomsday clock inches forward with climate change

Feature story - January 17, 2007
Weather of Mass Destruction has officially joined Weapons of Mass Destruction in threatening to wreak irrevocable damage on the earth.

Hiroshima clock, stopped at the time of the atomic bomb's explosion.

Today, the Doomsday Clock, presently set at seven minutes to midnight, is to be moved forward by its caretaker The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. This is the first adjustment since 2002 and this time they have acknowledged climate change as a contributor to the need for action.

The scientists point to North Korea's first nuclear test, Iran's nuclear ambitions, U.S. flirtation with "bunker buster" nuclear bombs, the continued presence of 26,000 American and Russian nuclear weapons and inadequate security for nuclear materials - but also to the destruction of human habitats caused by climate change brought on by human activities as a growing portent of doom.

To make matters worse, there is an ill fated connection between nuclear proliferation and climate change. Nuclear power is often touted as being a solution to climate change but nuclear power is too great a threat to be used in response to climate change. It is a key driver of nuclear weapons proliferation and a nuclear winter is no solution to global warming.

The Doomsday Clock can go backwards as well as forwards. A massive uptake of renewable energy sources along with energy efficiency and conservation would help us tackle both the climate threat and the threat of spreading dangerous nuclear technology around the world. It would help turn back the hands of the Doomsday clock.

In New Zealand we are proudly nuclear free and there is little chance of any uptake of nuclear power here but as a nation we have a long way to go with our contributions to climate change.

We are at an energy cross roads where a move towards a positive, renewable, sustainable energy future is completely possible.

It is not too late to slow global warming and avoid the climate catastrophe that scientists predict. The solutions already exist. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar offer abundant clean energy that is safe for the environment and good for the economy.

The Government needs to formulate an energy strategy that addresses the issue of climate change. You can put pressure on the energy sector by making your consumer dollar count with a switch to clean energy using our Clean Energy Guide

Read more about the possibilities for New Zealand's energy strategy

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