Doomsday Clock marks 90 seconds until the end of the world

Recent events, such as the war between Israel and Palestine, the war between Ukraine and Russia or climate change, bring us closer to what could be the apocalypse

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Doomsday Clock marks 90 seconds until the end of the world
© Anna Moneymaker / Staff Getty Images News

We were a minute and a half away from the apocalypse, and we are still only 90 seconds away from midnight and the end of humanity. The Doomsday Clock, updated annually by scientists at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The 90 seconds from destruction already reported in 2023 are therefore confirmed, in the wake of the pandemic, the climate crisis, the war between Russia and Ukraine and the related nuclear threats.

Doomsday Clock© Anna Moneymaker / Staff Getty Images News

"China, the United States and Russia are spending huge sums to expand and modernize their nuclear arsenals, adding to the ever-present danger of nuclear war.

2023 was the warmest year in history, with colossal floods , fires and other climate-related disasters. The development of artificial intelligence is also among the concerns. There is some progress on all these issues, ranging from the initial nuclear diplomacy between the United States and China to record investments in renewable energy and emerging national and international policy frameworks around technologies like AI and biological research.

But none of these efforts are moving forward fast enough. Make no mistake: resetting the clock to 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable Quite the opposite. It is urgent that governments and communities around the world take action.

And the Bulletin remains confident in seeing younger generations lead the charge," said Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of BAS, in a statement shared with LiveScience.

What is Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is an initiative created in 1947 by scientists from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of the University of Chicago which consists of a metaphorical clock that measures the danger of a hypothetical end of the world to which humanity is subjected.

The danger is quantified through the metaphor of a symbolic clock whose midnight symbolizes the end of the world while the preceding minutes represent the hypothetical distance from this event. Midnight originally represented only atomic war, but since 2007 it has considered any event that can inflict irrevocable damage on humanity.

When it was created during the Cold War, the clock was set to 11.53pm, seven minutes before midnight. Since then, the hands have been moved 23 times. The maximum proximity to midnight was reached in 2023 and 2024 (as mentioned a few lines above), with just 90 seconds.

Previously the minimum distance had been 100 seconds, achieved in 2020; the maximum distance was 17 minutes, between 1991 (START agreements) and 1995.

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