The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announces its 2023 statement with the minute hand closer to midnight than ever before.


Photo by Hastings Media Group

The Doomsday Clock is unveiled at the 2023 announcement and is revealed to be 90 seconds to midnight by the Science and Security Board. “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality,” executive director Rachel Bronson said.

   The time is ticking until the estimated Doomsday Clock hits midnight. 

   The symbol was created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and designed by painter Martyl Langsdorf in 1947. The Doomsday Clock is used to convey the current dangers and midnight is used to convey how long we have until a man made “doomsday” occurs.

   With it being one of the most prominent symbols for change has recently reset the clock to ninety seconds till midnight in the 2023 statement, this being the closest the minute hand has been till midnight. 

   Rachel Bronson, the executive director and publisher for the Bulletin, pushes the urgency of turning back the clock. 

   “Ninety seconds to midnight is the closest the Clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly,” Bronson said.

   The Science and Security Board moved the hands closer to midnight primarily due to the rising threats of the Russo-Ukrainian war, and other threats such as climate change, bio-threats, and disruptive technology. 

   The nuclear threat also remains with Russia suspending the New START treaty, which is based on nuclear arms control for Russia and the United States. Putin stated that Russia may resume nuclear testing if the United States does.

   The Bulletin says that since 1980 the number of infectious disease outbreaks has significantly risen, and events like the COVID-19 pandemic are much more likely now. 

   With rising gas prices countries have worked towards new gas supplies and investing in natural gas production. According to the Global Carbon Project, carbon emissions have also reached an all-time high in 2022. At the UN Climate Conference countries were also unable to agree on a formal decision to phase out of fossil fuels, and made no commitments to make sure previously established goals are met, but agreed to make a fund for the numerous victims of climate change in more vulnerable countries.

   The Bulletin notes that nuclear weapons and climate change are both threats that are intertwined and equal threats to be addressed. 

  In the last few years, social media has done the #TurnBacktheClock challenge on various sites such as FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. The hashtag can consist of multiple things such as inspiring people, positive actions, or sharing what you or a community is doing to help contribute. 

   The Bulletin also advises that everyone can contribute to turning back the clock by educating themselves and understanding these issues, then sharing this information with others, and writing to government representatives. 

   The Bulletin advises that while there are extreme threats to humanity, turning back the clock is possible with worldwide cooperation and action. 

   Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President of Mongolia and member of The Elders, said more on the need to make urgent action. 

   “I know how important international diplomacy is when it comes to tackling existential threats. Today our world faces multiple crises. A common thread runs through them all: failure of leadership,” he said.