Scientists revealed on Tuesday that the “Doomsday Clock” has been moved to 90 seconds before midnight – the closest people have ever come to Armageddon.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the clock forward 10 seconds from where it had been for the past two years, in anticipation of a Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022.
Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “The chances of the conflict getting out of hand are still high.”
Bronson said that UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned in August that “the world has entered an era of nuclear danger not seen since the Cold War.”
“The consequences of this war will also reduce international efforts to combat climate change because countries that depend on Russian oil and natural gas will increase their investment in fossil fuels,” Bronson said.
Another concern is that Russia’s “lie” that Ukraine is planning to use radiological, chemical and biological weapons “takes on a new meaning,” he added. “Continued information about a weapons manufacturing facility in Ukraine raises concerns that Russia may be considering importing such weapons.”
For the past 75 years, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a non-profit organization comprised of world leaders and Nobel laureates, has announced its belief that the world could collapse due to nuclear war, climate change and, most recently, COVID. -19 plague.
“It is a metaphor, a reminder of the dangers we have to face to survive on earth,” Bulletin, which created the watch, said on its website, calling it “a design that warns people of how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making.”
Tuesday’s announcement was the first since Russia invaded Ukraine, although the group warned at its last “Doomsday Clock” meeting that Ukraine was a potential international security threat.
Launched in 1947, scientists wanted to show the possibility of disaster to people as it affects the nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union, according to the Bulletin, saying that “the greatest danger to people comes from nuclear weapons” at the time.
The clock shows how much time is left until midnight, the day of doomsday.
In its inaugural edition, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the “Doomsday Clock” just seven minutes before midnight because artist Martyl Langsdorf, who drew the clock that appeared in the June 1947 issue of the magazine, said it “looked good” to his eyes. , the agency says.
Before 2020, the closest the hand was set to midnight was two minutes.
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Bulletin kept the clock at 100 seconds to midnight, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons if NATO intervened to help Ukraine “is what 100 seconds to midnight looks like.”
In September, Putin issued a veiled threat that Russia would use nuclear weapons against Ukraine following a series of setbacks.
The Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine has been experiencing repeated fires since Russia seized it in March 2022, raising the risk of a nuclear accident.
Rafael Grossi, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week that he is concerned that the world has lost touch with the potential dangers to plants.
The longest time since midnight was 17 minutes in 1991. Then-President George HW Bush and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev have both announced reductions in their countries’ nuclear arsenals.
“This marks a moment when the world took action on the threat and worked together to reduce it,” Bronson said.
ABC News’ Julia Jacobo contributed to this story.