New York, NY, April 05, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- In the wake of the March 2011 Tohuku earthquake and tsunami, which created more than 300,000 refugees and radioactive contamination across the entire region, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists pushed the symbolic Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight last January, to reflect the world’s lack of progress with battling climate change and nuclear weapons.
To address this concern, the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation, which funds science research and education, is organizing a second world conference called, Coping with Future Catastrophes to be held most likely in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The first conference took place last December in the US Virgin Islands and brought together a prestigious panel of scientists to identify the greatest threats to the Earth. The threats include acts of bioterrorism, nuclear calamities and/or nuclear warfare, overpopulation, asteroid and meteor threats, super volcanoes, mass tectonic earthquakes, rogue self-replicating nano-machines, super intelligent computers and high-energy chain-reactions that could disrupt the fabric of space itself.
The conference was organized by cognitive scientist, Marvin Minsky, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and co-founder of MIT’s AL (Artificial Intelligence) Laboratory. Other scientists included, Martin Nowak, Professor of Biology and Mathematics and Director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University, Lawrence Krauss, Professor of Physics, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and Gregory Benford, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California in Irvine.
Lawrence Krauss, who also serves as co-chairman of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ board of sponsors, stated that, “Faced with clear and present dangers of nuclear proliferation and climate change, and the need to find sustainable and safe sources of energy, world leads are failing to change business as usual. …The major challenge at the heart of humanity’s survival in the 21st century is how to meet energy needs for economic growth in developing and industrial countries without further damaging the climate ... and without risking further spread of nuclear weapons — and in fact setting the stage for global reductions.”
“We need to identify the greatest threats to our Earth,” Minsky summarized, “but we also need to prioritize them.”
Indeed, the list of prioritized threats that was assembled at the first conference will be debated and refined at the second conference, and will host a larger panel of scientists from around the world. “We’re still in the process of selecting scientists to panel this international conference,” Jeffrey Epstein remarked. “We intend to cast a much wider global net and to have scientists from a wider range of fields including bio and genetic engineering.”
The goal of this second conference however is not just to establish a refined list of the Earth’s greatest threats, but to begin the process of setting up an NGO, a non-governmental agency to monitor the priority list, adjust it accordingly and work on preventative measures.
“So far, there are hundreds of governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization, that monitor potential global catastrophes but they tend to focus on one field of study,” Minsky affirmed. “There’s a great need for an international organization to oversee and collect data from all of these groups, to prioritize looming disasters and to establish preventative measures.”
The second conference, if held in Dubai, will most likely coincide with the 2nd International Conference on Environmental, Biomedical and Biotechnology, set for early August. “Dubai is a neutral meeting ground for the international community and is geared to host large conferences and international media,” Epstein explained.
Established in 1947, the Doomsday Clock now sits at 11:55pm, five minutes before midnight, or Armageddon for the Earth. The closest it ever came to midnight was in 1953, when the clock was pushed to 11:58pm, when United States and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear devices within nine months of each other. Five minutes to midnight though is hardly a reprieve from that time and we should all be in a state of alert.