Since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been watching global events and determining how near we are to “destruction of our earth through catastrophic technology of our own invention.” Initially focusing on the danger presented by nuclear weapons, the scope has been expanded to encompass the impacts of climate change (first considered in 2007). The metaphor of the Doomsday Clock is used to “warn the public” about how near we are believed to be to the worst-case scenario.
The clock was begun at 7 minutes to midnight in 1947, with midnight representing the time at which it is too late and the world is destroyed. This judgment was primarily motivated by “the potential of a nuclear weapons race between the United States and the Soviet Union.” By 1953, this had been reduced to only two minutes, with the magazine boldly proclaiming: “The hands of the doomsday clock have moved once more. Only a few more swings of the pendulum and atomic bombs will signal the end of Western Civilization from Moscow to Chicago.”
Seven years later, the clock was reset to seven minutes and the hands were not to tick as far as they had in 1953 until 2018. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists then published “The world’s major nuclear actors are on the verge of embarking on a new arms race, one that will be extremely costly and increase the possibility of accidents and misperceptions. Globally, nuclear weapons are on the verge of becoming more usable rather than less so as a result of states’ investments in their nuclear arsenals.”
However, the worldwide situation appears to have deteriorated since then. The most recent evaluation for 2022 maintains the clock in the same perilous position it has had since 2020 – only 100 seconds before midnight. Without delving into the impact of climate change, the primary argument is as follows: “The United States’ relations with Russia and China remain hostile, despite the fact that all three countries are pursuing a variety of nuclear modernization and expansion initiatives. If not reined in, the drive to build hypersonic missiles and the continuous testing of anti-satellite weapons by numerous nations might spark a disastrous new nuclear arms race. North Korea’s unrestricted nuclear and missile development, as well as the (as of now fruitless) efforts to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal, all contribute to the escalating hazards. Ukraine continues to be a flashpoint, and Russian force deployments near the Ukrainian border exacerbate daily tensions.”
You will find more infographics at Statista