“It is 90 seconds to midnight”.
That is the latest conclusion from the science and security board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Yesterday, the 22-member group moved the Doomsday Clock – as a metaphor to indicate how near we are to a humanity-ending catastrophe – forward by 10 seconds. It is the first change since 2020 when it was 100 seconds to midnight.
The latest move marks the closest point to midnight since the clock was set up in 1947 where it began at 23:53. The board said this is largely due to the war in Ukraine, which is now entering its second year.
“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,” they write. “The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high.”
The board also say that the war is undermining efforts against climate change given that countries that are or have been dependent on Russian oil and gas have diversified their supplies, leading to increased use of natural gas.
Other factors in the decision include the “breakdown of global norms and institutions needed to mitigate risks associated with advancing technologies and biological threats such as COVID-19”.
For more on the Doomsday Clock, check out this feature by Rachel Brazil.