The doomsday clock advances to 90 seconds to midnight – the closest ever

Scientists said the Doomsday Clock has moved closer to midnight than ever before, and is now just 90 seconds from striking 12.

The clock, a symbolic timepiece showing how close the end of the world is, has been moved forward by its keepers 10 seconds.

The announcement means the perceived threat is now more serious than last year, with scientists citing the “unprecedented threat” posed by the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Rachel Bronson, chief executive of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, said: “As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned last August, the world has entered a time of nuclear threat the likes of which has not been seen since the height of the Cold War.”

SCIENCE The end of the world

(PA graphic)

Speaking about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, she said: “There is no clear path to a just peace that discourages future aggression in the shadow of a nuclear threat.

“The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have many channels of dialogue. We call on leaders to investigate all of them as fully as possible.”

Ms Bronson added: “We are moving the clock forward, closest to midnight. It’s now, 90 seconds to midnight.

In a statement, the researchers said the Russian invasion of Ukraine “has raised deep questions about state interaction, undermining the norms of international conduct that underpin an effective response to a variety of global threats.”

The statement added: “Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalating a conflict – by accident, intention or miscalculation – is a terrible risk.

“The likelihood of the conflict spiraling out of control remains high.”

The scientists said they are also concerned about the expansion of China’s nuclear capabilities, as well as North Korea’s intensification of medium- and long-range missile tests.

They also warned that the United States, Russia and China “are pursuing full-fledged nuclear weapons modernization programs, setting the table for a dangerous new ‘nuclear third era’ of competition.”

The countdown was established in 1947 by experts at The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists who were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb.

Concerned American scientists set the Doomsday Clock to simply demonstrate the threat to Earth and humanity posed by nuclear war.

The newsletter is an independent non-profit organization run by some of the world’s most outstanding scientists.

The clock started ticking at seven minutes to midnight – and over the years it has moved forward and backward as threats to the world have changed.

In 2020, the clock was set to 100 minutes to midnight and remained unchanged for the next three years.

Although originally meant to warn of the threat of nuclear Armageddon, the Doomsday Clock also takes into account the likelihood of other emerging threats, such as climate change and advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “We are on the brink of a precipice.

“But our leaders are not acting with sufficient speed or scale to ensure a peaceful and livable planet.

“From reducing 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.

“That must change in 2023 if we are to prevent a catastrophe.”

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