Humanity is closer than ever to the end of the world.
This was a dire warning from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists this week. Since 1947, the magazine has estimated how near the end of the world is by clearly showing how many “minutes to midnight” remain on the signed Doomsday Clock.
Tuesday’s clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight ever reached, according to the nonprofit and publication Bulletin.
Since 2020, the Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight. “It was brought forward. .
Many other issues, including the effects of climate change, “undiminished” online misinformation and the threat of an ongoing epidemic outbreak, have played a role in pushing the Doomsday Clock forward, the magazine says. .
Bulletin President and CEO Rachel Bronson said in a statement that the decision to move the clock closer to midnight was not taken lightly.
“We live in a time of unprecedented peril, and the times on the Doomsday Clock reflect that reality,” Dr. Bronson said. “The U.S. government, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have numerous channels for dialogue. I urge leaders to explore all of them to the fullest in order to turn back the clock. To do.”
Bulletin’s Science and Security Committees meet twice a year to discuss current events and determine if the clock needs to be reset. The Board includes several scientists and experts in nuclear technology and climate science. To determine the timing of the clock, the Council looks at data such as the number of nuclear weapons in the world, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the acidity of the oceans and the rate of sea level rise.
The Doomsday Clock and yearly warnings of impending extinction have generated skepticism and sparked debate about its purpose for years.
Brad Evans, a professor of political violence at the University of Bath in the UK, said Tuesday that the clock is “a terrifyingly symbolic image of a world that continues to live in the shadow of extinction.”
“While this image has come to shape our politics, we are, after all, living in a catastrophic age in which the future looks like a unique realm of crisis. Calculate the remaining time.” There are many problems with this particularly symbolic attempt to do so, Evans said.
Professor Evans noted that during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, “when the world was dangerously close to extinction, perhaps the closest it has ever been,” the clock did not change.
Bulletin says the hands of the clock were not changed during the crisis.
Bulletin says the clock is “not a predictive tool” and does not predict the future. The clock is a symbol of the threat to humanity, and every second does not represent how many years or decades the world has passed since the apocalypse.
The first Doomsday Clock was set arbitrarily. Artist Martyl Langsdorf, who was commissioned to create the cover design for his 1947 edition of the Bulletin, decided to set the original clock to his seven minutes at midnight because it “was nice to my eyes.” I was.
In 1991, when the Cold War ended, the furthest clock from midnight was 17 minutes.