“Annihilation” is less than two minutes away.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has been monitoring how close humanity is to global catastrophe and its own destruction since 1947, set its Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight — up from 100 seconds — on Tuesday.
It represents the closest the clock has ever been to midnight since its introduction at the start of the nuclear weapons age. The last time change, attributed to the slow response to climate change, was in 2020.
Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the Bulletin, said the new time was “largely, though not exclusively, because of the mounting dangers in the war in Ukraine.”
“We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality. Ninety seconds to midnight is the closest the clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly,” Bronson said.
The Bulletin’s science and security board and its sponsors, which include 10 Nobel laureates, set the time every year, but the clock has changed a number of times in the last 75 years. In 1949, it was set at three minutes to midnight after the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear bomb test. The time fell all the way to 17 minutes to midnight after the Cold War ended in 1991.
“Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks,” the Bulletin said in a statement. “And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict — by accident, intention, or miscalculation — is a terrible risk.”
“The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded by Albert Einstein and a group of University of Chicago scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project in 1945.
“The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to global catastrophe caused by manmade technologies,” the group’s website reads.
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