Washington, (EFE).- The Doomsday Clock, a symbolic tool created by scientists to visualize the probability that humanity will disappear, is 90 seconds from midnight this year, the closest it has ever been to marking its final hour.
The decision, announced this Tuesday by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – the organization that has been in charge of managing the Clock since its creation in 1947 – was motivated in large part by “the growing dangers of the war in Ukraine,” explained the president. of the group, Rachel Bronson, at an event in Washington.
It is the first time in three years that the Bulletin has decided to change the clock time, after placing it at 100 seconds from midnight in 2020, where it had remained until now.
“We would very much like to turn the clock back, but we have to respond to what is happening in the world,” physicist Daniel Holz, co-chairman of the board that decides the position of the hands every year, explained to EFE.
“If you look at what’s happening in Ukraine, the weather disasters… it’s very hard to say that things are getting better,” he added.
The announcement on Tuesday focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the nuclear threat after statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has hinted on several occasions that he would be willing to use atomic weapons.
The experts also warned that Russian misinformation about the possibility that Ukraine is planning biological weapons attacks “causes concern that it is Russia that is considering using weapons of this type.”
This aspect, that of disinformation, is one of the factors that has weighed the most in the decision of the scientists of the Bulletin to advance the time of the clock, not because it is going to bring about the end of civilization, but because “it affects to our ability to deal with these threats,” Holz explained.
“If many Russians do not even believe that there is a war, it is very worrying because they do not put appropriate pressure on their leaders,” the expert said.
Despite the fact that the war was the main reason for the time change, other reasons, such as the risk of new pandemics after covid-19, the dangers of the climate crisis or the lack of an agreement to return to the nuclear pact with Iran also contributed to the decision.
For former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, present in the announcement as a member of The Elders group, the nuclear threats in Ukraine or the increased frequency of natural disasters due to climate change “make it logical that the clock would move in the right direction.” in which he moved”.
Santos explained in an interview with EFE that the message that his group, founded by Nelson Mandela, wants to convey is that it is time to “shake up the leaders so that they make the decisions that have to be made.”
The situation today is worse than it was in 1953, when the clock struck two seconds to midnight during one of the most tense periods of the Cold War, when both the Soviets and the Americans conducted their first tests of thermonuclear weapons.
The Doomsday Clock was devised by a group of scientists, many of whom worked on the project to build the atomic bomb but were opposed to its use against people.
The decision on the time that the clock shows involves the Science and Safety board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – the group created by Albert Einstein and other academics to alert the world to the danger of nuclear weapons – and a board of sponsors , in which there are eleven Nobel Prize winners.
Since 2007, the watch has included in its valuations the deterioration of the planet due to global warming and the climate crisis.