Doomsday Clock 2023: Will humanity move closer to apocalypse amid nuclear war tension

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The metaphorical doomsday clock, co-founded in 1945 by scientists including Albert Einstein, will be reset for 2023 on Tuesday.

The symbolic clock, which was founded by the group of people who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project during World War II, estimates the time the world will end as a result of mostly man-made threats including nuclear warfare, technology, illnesses and even climate change.

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The clock is reset every year by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with Nobel laureates.

Last year, the group left the clock unchanged at 100 seconds to midnight, which has been maintained since 2020 – the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, fears of nuclear war, tensions between US and Iran, and more.

Before 2020, the clock was set to two minutes to midnight. It debuted with seven minutes to midnight, and was the farthest apart in 1991 when the Cold War came to an end at 17 minutes.

For 2023, the clock may be set closer to midnight as fears of nuclear war over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stand reignited to a great extent.

“The Doomsday Clock is not a forecasting tool, and we are not predicting the future,” a statement on the Bulletin’s website said. The board reportedly uses numbers and statistics of the number and kinds of nuclear weapons, the parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the air, the degree of acidity in the oceans, and the rate of sea level rise, as factors to determine the time.

The new time will be announced on Tuesday via live stream at 10:00 a.m. EST. Speakers will include:

1. Mary Robinson, first woman president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
2. Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former president and prime minister of Mongolia
3. Rachel Bronson, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
4. Sivan Kartha, senior scientist, Stockholm Environmental Institute
5. Suzet McKinney, Principal and Director of Life Sciences, Sterling Bay
6. Steve Fetter, dean of the graduate school and professor of public policy, University of Maryland

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