(Gray News) – The world is now the closest it’s ever been to its own destruction, a group of nuclear scientists said Thursday.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists updated the Doomsday Clock on Thursday, moving it to 100 seconds before midnight. It had held at 11:58 since 2018.
“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,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a statement.
“The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”
The clock represents the likelihood of a manmade global catastrophe. It’s a prediction of the end of human existence.
The closer the clock moves to the top of the hour, the more likely a global disaster could occur that would wipe out humanity, according to the scientists.
The Doomsday Clock first hit the two-minute mark in 1953, when the U.S. and Soviet Union began testing the hydrogen bomb.
It returned to 11:58 in 2018 and stayed there until Thursday’s update.
The farthest the hand was from midnight was at 17 minutes in 1991, when the Cold War ended and the two superpowers reduced their nuclear weapon arsenals following the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The clock was established in 1947 by a group of experts who were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb.