The doomsday clock has been set at 90 seconds to midnight – representing a time of “unprecedented danger” – largely due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

That brings him 10 seconds to midnight, the closest he’s ever been to a global catastrophe – he’d been at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020.

The countdown is a metaphor for global collapse agreed upon by world-renowned experts at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

They said Russia’s “thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of conflict – by accident, intent or miscalculation – is a terrible risk”.

“The possibility that the conflict could spiral out of anyone’s control remains high.”

They also pointed out that the latest nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States was “at risk”.

They said: “Unless both sides resume negotiations and find a basis for further cuts, the treaty will expire in February 2026.

“It would eliminate mutual inspections, reinforce distrust, stimulate a nuclear arms race and increase the possibility of a nuclear exchange.”

They also pointed to China’s massive expansion of its nuclear capabilities as “particularly troubling”, North Korea’s improvement in intermediate-range and longer-range missile testing, Iran’s growing capability to enrich uranium and the development of its arsenal by India.

Other influences on the decision to move the clock forward include the climate crisis and carbon dioxide emissions, the growing number of biological threats like COVID-19, as well as misinformation and disruptive technologies.

“An alarm for all mankind”

Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female president and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “The doomsday clock is ringing the alarm bells for all of humanity.

“We are on the edge of a precipice. But our leaders are not acting with sufficient speed or scale to ensure a peaceful and livable planet.

“From cutting carbon emissions to strengthening arms control treaties and investing in pandemic preparedness, we know what needs to be done.

“The science is clear, but the political will is lacking. This must change in 2023 if we are to avoid catastrophe.

“We face multiple existential crises. Leaders need a crisis mindset.”

The clock has never been closer to midnight

Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said, “We live in times of unprecedented danger, and the time for the end of the world reflects that reality.

“90 seconds to midnight is the closest the clock has ever been to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts don’t take lightly.

“The U.S. government, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to the fullest of their abilities to roll back the clock.”

History of the clock

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by experts from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb.

They set up the clock to provide a simple way to show the danger to Earth and humanity posed by nuclear Armageddon.

It is an independent, not-for-profit organization run by some of the world’s most eminent scientists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *