Doomsday Clock set at 90 seconds to midnight – amid ‘unprecedented level of risk’ | World News

By Josephine Franks, News reporter @jos_franks

The Doomsday Clock remains at 90 seconds to midnight, the experts predicting the likelihood of a global catastrophe have said.

It comes after a year that saw conflict in Ukraine rage on and war in the Middle East flare up.

Scientists say there is a “continuing unprecedented level of risk” from threats including war, the climate crisis and the “dramatic advance” of AI.

The countdown is a metaphor for global collapse agreed on by experts at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

In 2023, the clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight – the closest to global collapse it had ever been.

While the clock has not edged closer to midnight this year, scientists warned that was not an indication of stability.

Rachel Bronson, president of the bulletin, said: “Make no mistake: resetting the clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable. Quite the opposite.

“It’s urgent for governments and communities around the world to act.”

The change in 2023 of 10 seconds was the due to the “mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine”, the board of experts said.

It had been at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020.

The bulletin said Russia’s “thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons” indicated a “terrible risk” of conflict escalating.

They also pointed towards the focus on developing nuclear capabilities by China, North Korea, Iran and India.

Other influences on the decision to move the countdown forward included the climate crisis, bio-threats such as COVID-19, and disinformation and disruptive technology.

In 2020, “two simultaneous existential dangers of nuclear war and climate change” were cited as reasons for the change.

Read more:
What is the Doomsday Clock and how is it set?
Where you should head to survive an apocalypse

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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.

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

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