The apocalypse clock is a virtual clock, of course. A clock whose delicate mechanism is maintained by scientists. Every year, they put it back on time. And at the start of 2023, they have just positioned it just 90 seconds before midnight. Understand that humanity has never been so close to its end!
Last summer, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) pointed this out. “The world has entered a period of nuclear danger unprecedented since the Cold War. » Today, the scientific and safety committee of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, founded in 1945 by Albert Einstein and by researchers who participated in the Manhattan Project – whose objective was the development of nuclear weapons – confirms this. On the doomsday clock, they just moved the hand forward another 10 seconds, bringing us closer than ever to the end of the world.
In question, essentially – but not only, as we will see a little later -, the war in Ukraine. And in this context above all, the thinly veiled threats of Russia to use nuclear force. Raising the risk of an escalation of the conflict. Whether intentional or even accidental. Also threatening the latest nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States. This is due to expire within three years. It would be the end of inspections and the return of mistrust and the arms race. Unless the two parties reach an agreement by then.
The actions carried out by Russia on the sites of the Chernobyl and Zaporijia nuclear power plants are also likely to worry the scientific and safety committee of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Because they run the risk of large-scale rejection of materialsmaterials radioactive in our atmosphereatmosphere.
The nuclear threat, one threat among others
Unfortunately, the nuclear threat is not the only one currently hovering over the world. There is also that of biological or chemical warfare. For the experts from Bulletin of Atomic Scientistsin effect, “The continued flow of misinformation about the labs in Ukraine raises fears that Russia itself is considering deploying biological or chemical weapons, which many experts believe it continues to develop.”
And beyond these very direct effects, the war in Ukraine also has indirect consequences. Because it hampers international efforts to address other global concerns. As the ability to prevent epidemicsepidemics. To detect them quickly when they occur and to react effectively to limit their scale. Or even as the ability to deal with the threats of disinformation or certain new technologies (satellites, drones, precision guidance, etc.).
Last hotspothotspot for experts in Bulletin of Atomic Scientists : the fight against climate change. First, because the war in Ukraine has weakened the global will to cooperate while undermining confidence in the sustainability, if not the feasibility, of multilateral collaboration. Countries dependent on oil and gasgas Russians have, moreover, for several months sought to diversify their supplies. And in doing so, they have too often turned to solutions that undermine the decarbonization efforts undertaken so far. The world consumption of coalcoal broke a record. A disaster for our greenhouse gas emissions, which reached a new record in 2022.
While the apocalypse clock now only displays 90 seconds before midnight, 90 seconds before the end of the world, the scientific and security committee of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists calls above all to maintain the dialogue because in “In this time of unprecedented global danger, concerted action is needed and every second counts”.
The doomsday clock shows only 100 seconds to midnight!
A deadly virus that threatens to spread worldwide from China. Growing tensions between the United States and Iran. Australia ravaged by flames. Experts come today to confirm what we have been feeling for a few months: humanity has never been so close to its end. And the doomsday clock only displays “100 seconds to midnight”. But, no offense to collapsologists from all walks of life, nothing is lost. There is still time to save the world!
Article of Nathalie MayerNathalie Mayer published on 01/24/2020
The end of the world has never been so close! Yesterday afternoon, in fact, the researchers of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists symbolically moved the hands of the doomsday clock. For the first time in its history, it fell below the symbolic two-minute mark. And now displays only “100 seconds to midnight”.
It was at the heart of discussions between scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb that the idea of such a clock was born. As they debated the consequences of this extraordinarily powerful technology they had developed. And their responsibility to inform the world. It was in 1947. And the only real threat that hovered over humanity then was indeed this one, that of a nuclear war. But since 2007, researchers from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists were forced to add another threat: that carried by the global warmingglobal warming.
Did you know ?
The doomsday clock is now set by scientists and other nuclear and climate experts. Before setting a new time, they consult many colleagues and studies and in particular take the advice of several Nobel Prize winners.
Today, researchers from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists consider the situation critical. Not only because these two major threats exist. But also because the leaders of this world seem to have done everything, during the past year, so that the risk incurred by humanity increases. Major arms control treaties or negotiations have thus been undermined. Political conflicts, particularly around North Korea and Iran, are still unresolved. They even got worse.
And while the public has been affected by the climate crisis, governments still seem unprepared for the challenge. Worse, some are now relying on the power of social networkssocial networks to sow doubt and distrust vis-à-vis the warnings issued by scientists. With the sole purpose of preserving their own interests.
Time to take charge of our future
Henceforth, the researchers of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists believe that we are closer than ever to the end of the world. Even closer than in 1953, the height of the Cold War. While the United States and the Soviet Union had tens of thousands more nuclear weapons than they have today. The doomsday clock then ticked “2 minutes before midnight”.
“The hour is serious, but the end of the world has not yet come. We have the opportunity to reverse the trend. Our future is in our hands”said Jerry Brown, former governor of California (United States) during the press conference organized on the occasion of the announcement of the new hour of the Apocalypse clock.
“We have to act. Together. Now.”
“We can overcome the threats hanging over humanity, but we must act. Together. Now “, added Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations. While other speakers hammered home: “The past has shown us that we are capable of changing things. It’s time to show it again. “Let’s wake up!” »
Among the avenues mentioned by the researchers of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to succeed in turning the clock back – why not to the “17 minutes to midnight” reached in 1991, when the Cold War was ending – there is, of course, the resumption of negotiations to slow down nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and a new commitment by all countries to limit global warming below 2°C. And give back credit to scientists whose objective gaze should help us to enlighten the world in these troubled times.