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Three Minutes to Midnight

  • Tuesday 7 June 2016, 6.00PM to 8.45pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
    Book tickets
  • Memorial Hall, St Peter's School, Clifton (map)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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Tick Tock: The Doomsday Clock is ticking and it’s three minutes to midnight…

The Doomsday Clock was created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists nearly 70 years ago as an annual measure of humanity’s closeness to catastrophe. Every year, 20 board members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists convene to assess the biggest threats to humanity based on the ongoing threat of climate change, nuclear weapons and geopolitical tensions.

The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever been to midnight was in 1953 when the first tests on the hydrogen bomb were conducted. The latest report, published in January 2016, places us at three minutes to midnight. Our Festival launch night explores the findings and recommendations of this report. How do we combat the threat of climate change and the proliferation of nuclear arms in fragile states? What kind of multi-lateral agreements will be effective? What is the likely impact of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by Iran and six world powers, or the Paris Climate Conference agreement?

In partnership with St Peter’s School and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), we present world-class speakers, a chaired discussion, exhibitions and demonstrations.

Speakers include:

Sivan Kartha, a member of the Science and Security Board, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and Senior Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, who will present the key findings of the latest Doomsday Clock report as well as the report’s recommendations on required urgent actions.

Oliver Morton, Briefings Editor of The Economist will present his recently published book, The Planet Remade, which explores the huge changes made by people to our planet – often in ways that have been far more profound than realised and which can fundamentally help us respond to climate change. Oliver will explore the moral implication of our responses to climate change and try to reimagine a world where people take care instead of taking control.

Beyza Unal, a Research Fellow with the International Security Department at Chatham House, who specialises in nuclear weapons policies, will discuss reducing risks of nuclear confrontation while managing global security issues.

About the speakers

Dr Sivan Kartha is a Senior Scientist in the Stockholm Environment (SEI)’s United States Centre.  He was co-leader of the SEI-wide research theme Reducing Climate Risk from 2009 to 2013.His research and publications for the past 20 years have focused on technological options and policy strategies for addressing climate change, and he has concentrated most recently on equity and efficiency in the design of an international climate regime. His most recent work has involved the elaboration of the Greenhouse Development Rights approach to burden-sharing in the global climate regime - an approach that places the urgency of the climate crisis in the context of the equally dire development crisis afflicting the world’s poor majority.

Sivan has also worked on mitigation scenarios, market mechanisms for climate actions, and the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of biomass energy. His work has enabled him to advise and collaborate with diverse organisations, including the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), various UN and World Bank programmes, numerous government policy-making bodies and agencies, foundations, and civil society organisations throughout the developing and industrialised world. He is an author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group III), co-leading the chapter on Sustainable Development and Equity.

Oliver Morton is The Economist's Briefings Editor. Before joining The Economist as Energy and Environment Editor in 2009, he was the Chief News and Features Editor of Nature, the international scientific journal. He specialises in the energy business, climate science and policy, and other green issues. He is the author of Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet, a study of photosynthesis, its meanings and its implications, Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World, and The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World.

Dr Beyza Unal is a Research Fellow with the International Security Department at Chatham House. She specialises in nuclear weapons policies and her current research explores humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons testing. She is interested in NATO’s defence and security policy as well as security in the Middle East. Beyza formerly worked in the Strategic Analysis Branch at NATO Allied Command and Transformation, taught International Relations, transcribed interviews on Turkish political history, and served as an international election observer during the 2010 Iraqi parliamentary elections.


Oliver Morton's book will be available to buy from the Waterstones' stall at this event.


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