Written By Hannah Frishberg | January 23, 2020 | 1:11pm
The end is nigh.
The Doomsday Clock has never been closer to striking midnight. The metaphorical measure of how close humanity is to extinction has been maintained by nonprofit group Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947. This year, the group says they’re moving the clock closer to midnight than ever before — just 100 seconds away, down from two minutes.
“The iconic Doomsday Clock symbolizing the gravest perils facing humankind is now closer to midnight than at any point since its creation in 1947,” reads a press release from the group, whose board of sponsors includes 13 Nobel Laureates. “Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers — nuclear war and climate change — that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond.”
Bulletin also names the dire erosion of international security and political infrastructure as motives for their decision to give the human race just 100 seconds on the clock.
While the Doomsday Clock didn’t move in 2019 and remained at two minutes, it’s been slowly moving closer to midnight in prior years. It was set forward by 30 seconds in 2018, landing at two minutes before midnight. The clock was adjusted in 2017 to 2 ½ minutes to midnight from its setting of three minutes to midnight the year before.
“We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds — not hours, or even minutes,” says Bulletin President and CEO Rachel Bronson.
In a separate statement, the group begs world leaders not to “retreat from arms control” and create a nuclear reality.
“The world is sleepwalking its way through a newly unstable nuclear landscape,” they write.
The safest the world has ever been, according to the clock, was 1991. With the end of the Cold War, Bulletin leaders set the clock to 17 minutes to midnight.