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Dooms Day Clock: Another Reminder to Prioritize Energy Efficiency

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Founded in 1945 by Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and University of Chicago scientists who 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.

The Doomsday Clock is set every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes nine Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to global catastrophe caused by manmade technologies.

Over its time, the Doomsday Clock has expanded beyond the nuclear threat to the climate crisis, bio-threats, and artificial intelligence.

Last week, the Doomsday Clock was reset at 90 seconds to midnight, tying the closest the Clock has ever been to midnight. Here is what the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists had to say about the climate crisis:

  • The world in 2023 entered uncharted territory as it suffered its hottest year on record and global greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise. Both global and North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures broke records, and Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest daily extent since the advent of satellite data. The world already risks exceeding a goal of the Paris climate agreement—a temperature increase of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—because of insufficient commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and insufficient implementation of commitments already made. To halt further warming, the world must achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The world invested a record-breaking $1.7 trillion in clean energy in 2023, and countries representing half the world’s gross domestic product pledged to triple their renewable energy capacity by 2030. Offsetting this, however, were fossil fuel investments of nearly $1 trillion. In short, current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are grossly insufficient to avoid dangerous human and economic impacts from climate change, which disproportionately affect the poorest people in the world. Barring a marked increase in efforts, the toll of human suffering from climate disruption will inexorably mount.

I have been paying attention to the Doomsday Clock for years and it is alarming that we are closer than ever to midnight. For our industry this is yet another call to action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Green Lodging News is filled with examples of energy efficiency success stories and products and services that can help you reduce your property’s greenhouse gas emissions. If you have a success story to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

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