The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was established in 1945 by Albert Einstein and researchers from the University of Chicago.
The world is more imminently doomed than ever, according to the Doomsday Clock.
The clock, which experts and scientists set to reflect how close humanity is to extinction, advanced 10 seconds, reaching 90 seconds until midnight for the first time.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which controls the Doomsday Clock and determines its time, claims that the threat of nuclear war and other issues has increased in the last year.
It specifically mentioned the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, about which it claimed to have issued a warning in January 2022, the month in which the clock was last updated.
The time then remained at 100 seconds until midnight, as it has since 2019, but it issued a warning that escalating hostilities between Russia and Ukraine risked bringing about the end of the world.
“This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine,” the Bulletin said in its statement.
“The clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.”
For the first time ever, that statement was made available in English, Ukrainian, and Russian. According to Rachel Bronson, the Bulletin’s chief executive, that was done in the hopes that the warning would be heeded in the capital cities engaged in the conflict.
The majority of the Bulletin’s statements warned of the threat of nuclear war, primarily due to the violence in Ukraine but also elsewhere. However, it did mention that disruptive technologies, biological threats, and climate change are all ongoing threats.
Experts have warned that pandemic outbreaks like Covid-19, which put the entire human population at risk, are likely to become much more frequent.
In 2019, it was already 100 seconds until the stroke of midnight, which was the closest it had ever been. The clock was set for the first time in seconds, signalling the escalating threat.
The first female president of Ireland and chair of the group of former world leaders known as “The Elders,” Mary Robinson, issued a warning during the announcement that more needs to be done by politicians to stop the clock from continuing to count down to midnight.
“The Doomsday Clock is sounding an alarm for the whole of humanity. We are on the brink of a precipice. But our leaders are not acting at sufficient speed or scale to secure a peaceful and liveable planet,” she said.
“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 avert catastrophe. We are facing multiple, existential crises. Leaders need a crisis mindset,” she said.
What is the Doomsday Clock?
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which was established in 1945 by Albert Einstein and researchers from the University of Chicago who worked on the Manhattan Project to create the first atomic weapons, created the Doomsday Clock two years later by combining nuclear explosion imagery with the apocalypse (midnight) and the countdown to zero of modern culture.
Each year, the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board sets the Doomsday Clock after consulting with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 10 Nobel laureates.
The clock has gained widespread recognition as a sign of the world’s susceptibility to a global catastrophe brought on by human technological advances.