90 seconds to midnight: the doomsday clock has never been so alarming

Only 90 seconds now separate the planet from the fateful midnight gong. The American NGO “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” has just revealed on Tuesday the new hour of this “doomsday clock », supposed to measure the imminence of this phenomenon. And the schedule announced is none other than the worst ever established by the organization of scientists.

In other words, if the end of the world was for midnight, it would be 23 hours 58 minutes and 30 seconds. An index that symbolizes the proximity of a planetary cataclysm. The announcement took place in the presence of Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, former President of Mongolia and four members of the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists”.

“We live in a time of unprecedented danger, and the hour of the end of the world clock reflects this reality, warned Rachel Bronson, head of the scientific organization. (…) The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore them all to the fullest of their ability to go back in time,” she insisted.

When was the first “diagnosis” of the doomsday clock?

We must first date the creation of this group of experts, in 1945. At the time, it was made up of Albert Einstein and scientists who worked on the “Manhattan” project, which contributed to the development of the first weapons atomic.

On his site, it claims to be “a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophes caused by nuclear weapons, climate change and disruptive technologies in other fields”.

The first timetable was set in 1947, two years after the end of the Second World War. The clock then showed midnight minus 7.

What were the most significant hours so far?

In nearly 75 years, the doomsday clock schedule has logically evolved over the course of major international events. In 1991, at the end of the Cold War, it had, for example, dropped to 17 minutes before midnight.

Conversely, in 1953, in the midst of the Korean War, as well as in 2018 and 2019, it displayed midnight minus 2. For the past two years, it has been stuck at 100 seconds from midnight, already a record. In 2022, the scientific committee justified this alarming schedule in particular by relations between the United States, China and Russia, which remained “tense”, “the three countries being engaged in a series of modernization and expansion efforts nuclear”. North Korea’s nuclear expansion as well as the beginnings of the conflict in Ukraine were also among the major concerns.

What elements justify the schedule established for 2023?

Beyond climate change and the risks posed by nuclear proliferation, mentioned repeatedly in recent years, the war in Ukraine has logically played a crucial role in the calculation of the timetable for the year 2023.

In March 2022, a few days after the launch of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine, scientists had condemned this “illegal and dangerous invasion”. Scientists from the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” had then delivered several comments and analyzes, with the objective “to minimize the threat of global apocalypse in the short term, then to make it less and less likely to occur over time. “.

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