Doomsday clock stuck at 90 seconds to midnight: Humanity's precarious dance with disaster
The "Doomsday Clock's" position is determined annually by a special board from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is supported by the Board of Sponsors, which consists of 10 Nobel Prize laureates. In 2024, the experts decided, for the second year in a row, to position it at 90 seconds to midnight. This point is the "closest to global disaster in history," reflecting the current global situation.
Rachel Bronson, the President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, explained that the trends observed continue to ominously point towards a global catastrophe. Ongoing conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine, risk escalating to nuclear warfare. The October 7 attack in Israel and the war in Gaza highlight the terrifying reality of contemporary warfare, even without nuclear escalation.
Besides military conflicts, climate change also poses a serious global threat. In making their determination, the experts took into account that 2023 was the warmest year on record. Furthermore, global greenhouse gas emissions continued to increase, sea surface temperatures rose, and Antarctic sea ice hit a record low. Other considerations included biological threats, such as devastating pandemics like COVID-19 or laboratory accidents, as well as disinformation and risks associated with advancing technology, including artificial intelligence.
In their press release, the experts emphasized that halting the advancement of the clock's hands requires collective global action. Three major world powers - the United States, China, and Russia - "should initiate serious dialogue concerning each of the global threats" identified by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. These nations "must acknowledge and address the existential danger the world currently faces. They possess the capability to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. This should be done promptly, courageously, and clearly."