The minute hand has inched forward to 90 seconds from midnight, the most perilous time for humanity ever, amid nuclear war fears
Members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists unveil their updated Doomsday Clock on Tuesday in Washington. © Alex Frank; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Humanity stands at its most perilous time on record, with the so-called Doomsday Clock advancing to within just 90 seconds of midnight as the Russia-Ukraine conflict stokes fears of a nuclear war, according to a leading group of atomic scientists.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists adjusted its Doomsday Clock on Tuesday, moving it 10 seconds forward to reflect the group’s view of how close the world has been pushed to widespread calamity. The clock, which is updated each January, is designed to alert people to the threats to their existence, including nuclear war, climate change and biotechnology.
The latest adjustment reflects “a time of unprecedented danger,” which stems largely – though not exclusively – from “the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine,” the group said. The bulletin’s Science and Security Board (SASB) accused Russia of making “thinly veiled threats” to use nuclear weapons, reminding the world that the conflict could spin out of control and escalate catastrophically.
“Even if nuclear use is avoided in Ukraine, the war has challenged the nuclear order – the system of agreements and understandings that have been constructed over six decades to limit the dangers of nuclear weapons,” said SASB member Steve Fetter, dean of the graduate school and professor of public policy at the University of Maryland.