PRESS RELEASE: Doomsday Clock set at 90 seconds to midnight
The Doomsday Clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight, due largely but not exclusively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation. The new Clock time was also…
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 24, 2023 –
The Doomsday Clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight
, due largely but not exclusively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation. The new Clock time was also influenced by continuing threats posed by the climate crisis and the breakdown of global norms and institutions needed to mitigate risks associated with advancing technologies and biological threats such as COVID-19.
Rachel Bronson, PhD, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality. 90 seconds to midnight is the closest the Clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the Clock.”
The Doomsday Clock’s time is set by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board with the support of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes 10 Nobel Laureates. Previously, the Doomsday Clock had been set at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020.
Watch the 2023 Doomsday Clock announcement on Jan. 24 (ByJohn Pope)
How to read the Doomsday Clock (BBC)
The Doomsday Clock depicts how close humanity is to armageddon – but where did it come from, how do you read its time, and what can we learn from it? Existential risk researcher SJ Beard explains.
I first became aware of the Doomsday Clock at school in the mid-1990s when a teacher introduced it to me. She told my class about the grand sweep of history, explaining that if everything that had happened on our planet was compressed into a single year, then life would have emerged in early March, multi-cellular organisms in November, dinosaurs in late-December – and humans wouldn’t arrive on the scene until 23:30 on New Year’s Eve. Then she contrasted this great swathe of history with how short our futures might be, and told us how a group of scientists in the US thought we may only have a few metaphorical minutes left until midnight.
It never crossed my mind that someday I might be working on the same problem, as a researcher at the Centre of the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge.
It’s a powerful story, and for many years I thought this is what the Doomsday Clock meant: that its hands represented the time we have left before the end. However, that’s not quite accurate.