The most recent update on Tuesday morning maintained the Doomsday clock at 90 seconds to midnight, continuing its role as a longstanding global symbol indicating the proximity of humanity to potential “global catastrophe” as of January 2024.
The latest announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit organization focused on monitoring human-caused dangers to our world, revealed this year’s symbolic clock reading. This organization, which is based at the University of Chicago, specifically focuses on three main threats: nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies. The announcement also included the participation of Bill Nye, a popular science educator and television personality.
The Board of Scientists and Experts for the Bulletin have chosen to keep the clock at 90 seconds to midnight in 2024, the same position it was in the previous year. This decision was made due to the ongoing and intense risks that are threatening societies globally.
The world experienced its highest recorded temperature, yet world leaders have taken minimal steps to confront climate change. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists also identified other major concerns, such as developments in artificial intelligence that bring up concerns about regulating technology that could have both positive and negative effects on humanity.
The Bulletin released a statement on Tuesday that highlighted the impact of the Russian war on Ukraine and how it could potentially jeopardize a crucial nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the U.S. The statement referenced a warning from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in August 2020, stating that the current situation is reminiscent of the heightened nuclear threat during the Cold War. Additionally, the statement mentioned the war’s detrimental effects on global climate issues and its hindrance of international efforts to address other global concerns.
100 seconds before midnight.
In 2023, the Doomsday clock moved forward for the first time in three years, indicating that there were 100 seconds left until midnight.— up from
In 2020, they stayed in the same place. The sudden increase of 10 seconds was due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which had been going on for almost a year since Russia’s invasion, and the ongoing issue of climate change, along with other dangers caused by humans.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was established in 1945 by Albert Einstein and a group of University of Chicago scientists who were involved in the development of atomic weapons for the Manhattan Project. In 1947, they created the Doomsday clock as a means of illustrating how humanity’s actions and decisions could endanger its own well-being and future. At that time, they viewed the advancement of nuclear weapons as the greatest threat to the world, and the clock indicated the potentially catastrophic consequences of a nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The initial setting of the clock was seven minutes to midnight, and it has since been adjusted 25 times – sometimes closer to midnight and sometimes further away – reflecting the potential for positive change and “rewinding the clock.” Since 2007, climate change has been a primary concern influencing the position of the Doomsday clock’s hands.
The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic representation used to alert the public about the potential destruction of our planet through the use of hazardous technologies created by humans. It serves as a reminder of the dangers we must confront in order to preserve our existence on Earth. This description was posted on the website for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Each year, the clock is adjusted to a specific time, determined by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board. This board convenes twice a year to examine global events and make necessary changes to the clock. The members of this board are experts in nuclear technology and climate science, who seek input from colleagues in various fields. The Bulletin also states that the sponsoring board, which includes 10 Nobel laureates, is consulted during this process.
Emily Mae Czachor