‘Unprecedented danger’: Doomsday Clock moves 10 seconds closer to midnight as Ukraine war rages

World

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

It puts it 10 seconds closer to midnight, the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been. It had been at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020.

The countdown is a metaphor for global collapse agreed on 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 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.”

They also pointed out that the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States is “in jeopardy”.

They said: “Unless the two parties resume negotiations and find a basis for further reductions, the treaty will expire in February 2026.

“This would eliminate mutual inspections, deepen mistrust, spur a nuclear arms race, and heighten the possibility of a nuclear exchange.”

They also pointed towards China’s considerable expansion of its nuclear capabilities as being “particularly troubling”, North Korea’s enhancement of intermediate and longer-range missile testing, Iran’s increasing capacity for the enrichment of uranium, and India’s development of its arsenal.

Other influences on the decision to move the clock forward include the climate crisis and carbon dioxide emissions, the increasing number of bio-threats like COVID-19, and disinformation and disruptive technology.

Siegfried S. Hecker, Daniel Holz, Sharon Squassoni, Mary Robinson and former Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia with The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists demonstrate for members of the news media the announcement of the location of the minute hand on its Doomsday Clock, indicating what world developments mean for the perceived likelihood of nuclear catastrophe from the National Press Club in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

‘An alarm for the whole of humanity’

Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “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.

“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.”

Read more
Ukraine war latest: Russians wanting to leave country by car may have to make online reservation

‘Save the elephants, help save Earth’: Extinction ‘must be avoided for sake of climate’

The closest the clock has ever been to midnight

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality.

“90 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.

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

History of the clock

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

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

It is an independent non-profit organisation run by some of the world’s most prominent scientists.

Articles You May Like

Exclusive: China ‘likely’ to invade Taiwan in 2027
Liverpool and Manchester United fans set aside rivalry to demand action on club ownership
Man dies after being crushed by pop-up telescopic urinal in London’s West End
Met Police says two to three officers will face charges every week for months
All-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre production likely to crank up, CEO credits stronger-than-expected demand