Doomsday Clock 2023: Ukraine’s war is pushing humanity to ‘the brink of disaster’

The Doomsday Clock – used to represent how close the world was to catastrophe – now stands just 90 seconds away from “midnight”.

The experts running the clock, which is symbolic rather than an actual clock, said Russia’s war in Ukraine is why humanity is “the closest a war has ever come to annihilation.”

The clock has been fixed at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about global warming. But the threat of using nuclear weapons on the battlefield raised the threat level.

“The potential for conflict to get out of anyone’s control remains high,” said Rachel Bronson, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who developed the clock.

Tuesday’s announcement also marks the closest the Doomsday Clock has been since its inception in 1947.

The Doomsday Clock is the closest thing to a global catastrophe after this annual update on Tuesday brought timers defaulting 90 seconds to midnight.

Every January since 1947, the Bulletin has determined how close the human race has come to annihilation by pulling the tide away from the clock.

Established by American scientists involved in the Manhattan Project, which led to the production of the first nuclear weapons during World War II, the Doomsday Clock is a symbolic countdown representing how close mankind has come to completing a global catastrophe.

Artist Martyl Langsdorf was commissioned to make the watch and asked to create an image that would “scare men into rationality,” according to Eugene Rabinowitz, senior editor at Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The time is determined by the group of scholars who look at events throughout the year.

This is the closest the Doomsday Clock has moved to midnight in 76 years

This is the closest the Doomsday Clock has moved to midnight in 76 years

Created by American scientists involved in the Manhattan Project, which led to the production of the first nuclear weapons during World War II, the clock is a symbolic countdown that represents how close mankind has come to completing a global catastrophe.  Pictured is the unveiling in 1947

Created by American scientists involved in the Manhattan Project, which led to the production of the first nuclear weapons during World War II, the clock is a symbolic countdown that represents how close mankind has come to completing a global catastrophe. Pictured is the unveiling in 1947

This can include politics, energy, weapons, diplomacy, and climate science, along with potential sources of threat such as nuclear threats, climate change, bioterrorism, and artificial intelligence.

It has been moved back and forth 25 times since 1947.

The bulletin’s announcement sadly refers to the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 33,000 people combined.

The change is largely due to the war in Ukraine, which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Council fears is going into its second year.

The ad also refers to Russia's continuation until the last judgment

The announcement also indicates that Russia’s continued threat of use of nuclear weapons was also part of the decision to move the Doomsday Clock.

There were a total of 7,068 civilian deaths during the period from January 22, 2023, 438 of them children.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in a major escalation in the war between the two countries that has been going on since 2014.

“Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international behavior that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks,” the Doomsday Clock statement explained.

Worst of all, Russia’s veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalating conflict – by accident, intent, or miscalculation – is a terrible risk.

The potential for conflict to get out of anyone’s control remains high. . … Russia has also taken its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhia nuclear reactor sites, violating international protocols and risking the release of radioactive material on a large scale. Efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency to secure these plants have so far been rejected.

Scientists also highlight that Russia brought war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhia nuclear reactor sites in August 20202,

Scientists also highlight that Russia brought war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhia nuclear reactor sites in August 20202,

Rachel Bronson, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who developed the watch, said:

“The potential for conflict to get out of anyone’s control remains high,” said Rachel Bronson, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who developed the clock.

Scientists also highlight that Russia brought war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhia nuclear reactor sites in August 20202, violating international protocols and risking large-scale releases of radioactive material.

The move also raised fears of another nuclear disaster.

Vladimir Putin issued a chilling threat to use nuclear weapons against the West last September.

He vowed to use “all means” to defend the regions, saying: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff … I will emphasize” – by all means at our disposal.

“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tables can be turned on them.”

“The Doomsday Clock is sounding the alarm for all of humanity,” said Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. We are on edge.

But our leaders are not acting with enough speed or scope to secure a peaceful planet. From cutting carbon emissions to strengthening arms control treaties and investing in pandemic preparedness, we know what needs to be done. The science is clear, but the political will is lacking.

The clock has stopped at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about global warming.  Pictured is the watch's unveiling last year

The clock has stopped at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about global warming. Pictured is the watch’s unveiling last year

This must change in 2023 if catastrophe is to be avoided. We are facing multiple existential crises. Leaders need a crisis mentality.

Ban Ki-moon, Vice President of The Elders and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, said he helped unveil the symbolic clock three years ago when it was last moved.

“Today it is closer to midnight, which shows how dangerous our world is in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, severe weather phenomena and Russia’s heinous war on Ukraine,” said Ki-moon.

Leaders have not heeded the Doomsday Clock’s warnings in 2020. We all continue to pay the price. In 2023, it is imperative that they act for all of us.

How close has the clock been to midnight in the last 75 years?

The closer the Doomsday Clock is to midnight, the closer humanity will be to annihilation.

Since it was first set in 1947, it has moved backwards eight times and forwards 16 times.

This is how it has changed over the years:

  • 1947 – 48: 7 minutes

  • 1949-52: 3 min

  • 1953-59: 2 minutes

  • 1960 – 62: 7 minutes

  • 1963 – 67: 12 min

  • 1968: 7 minutes

  • 1969 – 71: 10 minutes

  • 1972-73: 12 min

  • 1974 – 79: 9 minutes

  • 1980: 7 minutes

  • 1981 – 83: 4 minutes

  • 1984 – 87: 3 minutes

  • 1988 – 89: 6 minutes

  • 1990: 10 minutes

  • 1991 – 94: 17 min

  • 1995-97: 14 min

  • 1998 – 2001: 9 minutes

  • 2002-06: 7 minutes

  • 2007-09: 5 minutes

  • 2010-11: 6 min

  • 2012-14: 5 minutes

  • 2015-16: 3 minutes

  • 2017 – 2.5 minutes

  • 2018-2 min

  • 2019-2 min

  • 2020-100 sec

  • 2021-100sec

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *