What is the Doomsday Clock? Know how this symbolic clock shows humanity being 'closer to annihilation'
WASHINGTON D.C: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced on Tuesday that it had shifted its figurative Doomsday Clock even closer to the fictitious hour of Armageddon, which is midnight. This move reflects the opinion of experts that humanity is currently facing unprecedented threats to its survival.
The group's leaders announced the countdown time for 2023 to be "90 seconds to midnight" at a press conference held at the National Press Club. The new time was 10 seconds nearer to "doomsday" than the old one. The organization has been tracking actual and existential dangers to humanity for more than 70 years, including everything from climate change to the possibility of nuclear war.
Humanity is "closer to annihilation than it has ever been," according to the experts who run the symbolic clock, which is not actually a clock in reality. They attribute the clock being 10 seconds nearer is due to Russia's conflict in Ukraine as per Daily Mail. Rachel Bronson, CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as per the outlet said, "The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone's control remains high."
Since 2020, the clock has been set at 100 seconds before midnight due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and global warming. However, the threat level has increased due to the potential use of nuclear weapons in combat.
Since the clock's inception in 1947, Tuesday's announcement makes it the closest it has ever been to "doomsday". January month each year marks how close humankind is to annihilation "by pulling the current off the clock." as per the outlet.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in a tweet said, "This is a global alarm we cannot afford to ignore any longer. But we have the plan to protect humanity from nuclear war, take action now."
The @BulletinAtomic has reset the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been. This is a global alarm we cannot afford to ignore any longer. But we have a plan to protect humanity from nuclear war, take action now. #nuclearban 🧵1 pic.twitter.com/1So2FuGPTW— ICAN (@nuclearban) January 24, 2023
The clock has never been set further than 17 minutes before midnight, which occurred in 1991 following the fall of the Soviet Union and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Up until recently, the closest it had ever been set was at two minutes to midnight—first in 1953, when both the United States and the Soviet Union conducted thermonuclear weapons tests, and again in 2018 when nuclear actors were blamed for "a breakdown in the international order" and continued inaction on climate change. Then, in 2020, the clock was 100 seconds away from midnight, which was caused by nuclear, climate change, disruptive technologies, and COVID-19.
As per The Bulletin of the Automic Scientists , "The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to convey how close humanity is to destroying itself. Designed by painter Martyl Langsdorf, the Clock has become an international symbol of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophes from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies."
Until his death in 1973, Bulletin editor Eugene Rabinowitch decided whether the clock hand should be moved. Today, the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board sets the clock.