It might almost be the end of the world as we know it, according to the Doomsday Clock, which moved to 90 seconds to midnight.
According to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, this is “the closest to global catastrophe” that the Doomsday Clock has ever been.
The Doomsday Clock was founded in 1945 by Albert Einstein and scientists at the University of Chicago. It was used to convey threats to humanity and the planet, particularly those concerning atomic or nuclear destruction.
The Bulletin calls it a time of unprecedented danger, thanks to several factors.
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One reality that The Bulletin points to is the Ukraine war, which entered a second “horrifying year.”
The situation also seems to be escalating. On Sunday, Russia warned the west of a “global catastrophe” for arming Ukraine.
Irresonsible and unacceptable. The latest nuclear threats from the chairman of Russia’s lower house Vyacheslav Volodin further increase the risk of nuclear weapons use, and put us all at risk. They are also illegal under international law . #nuclearban https://t.co/1Y0a0vD4GC
— ICAN (@nuclearban) January 23, 2023
The Bulletin also says that these nuclear tensions “undermine global efforts to combat climate change.”
“Countries dependent on Russian oil and gas have sought to diversify their supplies and suppliers, leading to expanded investment in natural gas exactly when such investment should have been shrinking.”
The Bulletin recommends the United States keep the door open to engagement with Moscow, which “reduces the dangerous increase in nuclear risk the war has fostered.”
“In this time of unprecedented global danger, concerted action is required, and every second counts.”
Biological threats and disruptive technologies also played a part in moving the clock forward.
“Devastating events like the COVID-19 pandemic can no longer be considered rare, once-a-century occurrences. The total number and diversity of infectious disease outbreaks has increased significantly since 1980, with more than half caused by zoonotic diseases.”
USA Today put together a graphic that shows how the clock has evolved since 1947.
The Doomsday Clock was moved to 90 seconds to midnight today, Jan. 24, the closest it’s ever been.
— USA TODAY Graphics (@usatgraphics) January 24, 2023
Reaction to the Doomsday Clock update has been mixed.
Some social media users are reacting with legitimate concerns, while others think the numbers are meaningless. Some are even pointing to hypocrisy from The Bulletin.
Doomsday Clock now closer to midnight than ever before, but mealy-mouthed @BulletinAtomic makes no mention of the US arming, funding, and operationally coordinating a massive multi-domain war against the country with the world’s largest nuclear as a possible contributing factor pic.twitter.com/ks4yGSlSWK
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 24, 2023
Are you concerned that the Doomsday Clock has reached 90 seconds to midnight?