90 seconds: Scientists move ‘doomsday clock’ closer to midnight than ever

The “Doomsday Clock” symbolizing the perils to humanity has moved the closest to midnight it’s ever been amid the Ukraine war, nuclear tensions and the climate crisis.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which describes the clock as a “metaphor for how close humanity is to self-annihilation,” edged its hands from 100 seconds to midnight to 90 seconds to midnight, citing “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation,” as well as other factors, including climate change and coronavirus-induced societal changes.

A decision to reset the hands of the symbolic timepiece is made each year by the Bulletin’s science and security board and its board of sponsors, which includes 10 Nobel laureates.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality,” says Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired as part of Russia’s nuclear drills from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

The hands of the clock moved to 100 seconds to midnight in January 2020 — the closest to midnight it had been in its history — and remained there for the next two years.

It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight in 1947.

The furthest from midnight it has ever been is 17 minutes, following the end of the Cold War in 1991.

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