Humanity faces 'unprecedented level of danger' as Doomsday Clock remains at 90 seconds to midnight

The Doomsday Clock Credit: PA

Scientists say "humanity continues to face an unprecedented level of danger” as the Doomsday Clock remained at 90 seconds to midnight for a second year in a row.

The timepiece warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making.

It is a metaphor and a reminder of the perils people must address if we are to survive on the earth - once the clock strikes 12 it's game over.

Maintaining last year’s setting, the closest to 12 it has ever been, means the clock’s keepers believe the threat of global apocalypse has not cooled off in the past 12 months - emphasising it is not an indication of stability in the world.

Rachel Bronson, president and chief executive of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “Make no mistake: resetting the clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable.

“Quite the opposite.

"It’s urgent for governments and communities around the world to act.

“And the Bulletin remains hopeful – and inspired – in seeing the younger generations leading the charge.”

The scientists cited the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, multi-dimensional nuclear threats, failures to address the climate crisis, bio-threats, and artificial intelligence (AI) as reasons for the setting.

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, when the Doomsday Clock was created in 1947, the greatest danger to humanity came from nuclear weapons.

The Bulletin considered possible catastrophic disruptions from climate change in its hand-setting deliberations for the first time in 2007.

The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board took over the responsibility of setting the time of the clock following the death Bulletin Editor Eugene Rabinowitch in 1973.

Since then, they have met twice a year to discuss world events and reset the clock as necessary.

The board is made up of scientists and other experts with deep knowledge of nuclear technology and climate science, who often provide expert advice to governments and international agencies.

They consult widely with their colleagues across a range of disciplines and also seek the views of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes nine Nobel laureates.

The hands were set farthest from midnight in 1991.

With the end of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the first treaty to provide for deep cuts to the two countries’ strategic nuclear weapons arsenals.

It prompted the Bulletin to set the clock hand to 17 minutes to midnight.

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