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The nuclear, biological and climate threat - 2011 reviewed
Date:1/6/2012

In this special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, experts reflect on 2011 and highlight what to look out for in 2012 in the areas of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, biosecurity, and climate change. Topics that have made the headlines during the previous 12 months, including the increased tension surrounding Iran's nuclear programme, the aftermath of the Fukushima incident, and the state of US policy on climate change, are analyzed in detail in this special issue.

At the Doomsday Clock Symposium on January 9-10 in Washington, DC, the Bulletin's Science and Security Board will evaluate the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock. In 1947, the Bulletin first displayed the Doomsday Clock on its magazine cover to convey, through a simple design, the perils posed by nuclear weapons. The Clock evokes both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). In 1949, the Clock hand first moved to signal the assessment of world events and trends. The essays within this special issue are a glimpse into the topics the Bulletin's board will consider when evaluating the minute hand.

Gerald Epstein, director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy (CSIS) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says that 2011 saw progress on approaches to address biological threats posed by non-state groups at both the Seventh Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)Review Conference and the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In his paper, Biosecurity 2011: Not a year to change minds, Epstein writes that the BWC is evolving to adapt to the nature of the biological threat. Going forward, biosecurity will hinge upon the international community's ability to cooperate, whether it can think creatively and strategically, and whether it enters partnerships with scientists from all world regions.

Steven E. M
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Contact: Jayne Fairley
jayne.fairley@sagepub.co.uk
020-732-48719
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

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