It’s still 90 seconds to midnight
The Doomsday Clock, established in 1947 by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, when it stood at seven minutes to midnight, remains at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest the hands have ever been to zero hour.
The Doomsday Clock was moved to 90 seconds to midnight a year ago, a reflection of the growing nuclear dangers sparked by nuclear-armed Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.
This year, the potential for nuclear-armed Israel’s war against Gaza provoking a wider conflict in the region involving other nuclear powers, was factored into consideration but did not prompt the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board to move the hands closer to midnight.
The time on the Doomsday Clock has been changed 25 times. The furthest from midnight was in 1991, at the perceived end of the Cold War, when it went back to 17 minutes before midnight.
The Clock’s purpose is to assesses how close humanity stands to the brink of annihilation. The level of danger is largely based on the threat of nuclear war but now also factors in the climate crisis (2023 was predictably the hottest year on record), and developments in Artificial Intelligence and biotechnology that could unleash additional threats including further pandemics.
The announcement was somewhat marred by an appearance at the end, by renowned scientist and personality, Bill Nye, whose jovial ramblings about football and his embracing of nuclear power and even fusion, were a baffling distraction from the day’s main message.
See the 2024 Doomsday Clock program here.
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