Doomsday Clock Australia’s Response

Commission for The Human Future

THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK: AUSTRALIA’S RESPONSE By Professor John Hewson, Chair of A Newly Developing Commission for The Human Future

  • Nuclear physicists at the University of Chicago have reset the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight – the closest to universal human catastrophe it has ever been. At the unveiling of the clock, reference was made to Australia’s slow response to the evolving nuclear, climate and environmental challenges.

  • Prince Charles has this week also weighed in on the need for the world to take seriously a series of threats to human survival and the benefits of a paradigm shift in the way we deal with the planet

  • Here in Australia more and more concerned citizens and organisations are recognising the impending danger to the human future from a multiplicity of threats.

  • Besides weapons of mass destruction and climate, these include:

o Aloomingglobalresourcescrisis,ledbyworldwidewatershortages

o Massextinctionoflandandsealife,causingthecollapseofecosystemsthathumans

need for survival

o Growing global food insecurity

o Worldwidepollutionaffectingallhumansandwildlife

o The spread of pandemic diseases like coronavirus

o The spread of dangerous, uncontrolled new technologies.

  • All these risks are interlocked. None of them can be solved in isolation from the others.

  • These risks may be upon us much more rapidly even than climate change and will impact the

    entire global community. Australia cannot avoid them.

  • The human civilization has evolved in ways that the failure of any of a number of systems that

    make our world function could quickly lead to a large-scale collapse of human society itself.

    This is insufficiently recognised either by governments or society.

  • As a result, we are totally unprepared as a whole society, to deal with the effects of any one of

    these risks, let alone all or many at once.

  • This means we are equally unprepared to capture the opportunities for new industries, jobs,

    investment and social benefit which may arise from solving them.

  • A group of concerned Australians is now in the process of forming a National Commission to

    help steer our nation through this increasing dangerous world

  • We recognise that Australia is not immune to any of these catastrophic risks.

  • We believe that Australia can play a world leading role in helping to solve them.

  • But we cannot solve any of these problems by denying them, ignoring them and by sitting on

    our hands.

  • Our proposed Commission will define the threats we face, describe their solutions and identify

    the new opportunities they pose.

  • We believe that solving them will usher in a new era of prosperity and wellbeing – and that as a

    frontrunner, Australia could be among the first to benefit.



/Public Release.