Doomsday clock and the end of the world

Doomsday clock and the end of the world - Since 1947, the doomsday clock has been calculating the time remaining before the end of the world by taking into account different threats. With the war in Ukraine, scientists could well advance the time. So how long do we have left to live before the end of the world? That's what the very serious doomsday clock should tell us this Tuesday. Since 1947, members of the NGO Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group of American atomic scientists, have published a count taking into consideration the nuclear, technological and climatic threats to the planet. The closer the hour gets to midnight, the closer the end of the world is. The Bulletin has reset the clock's minute hand 24 times since its debut, most recently in 2020. A year that also symbolizes when the hands of this clock, located in Chicago, were set closest midnight - that is to say the symbolic hour of the end of the world - precisely at one minute and 40 seconds. The time displayed is of course symbolic. "It's a metaphor, a reminder of the perils we have to face if we want to survive on the planet," explain its members. But the reasoning behind the concept is based on very real data, between the expansion of atomic weapons in the world, renewed international tensions and the multiplication of climatic disasters.

The Bulletin's Science and Security Council meets twice a year to "discuss world events and reset the clock if necessary". It is made up of scientists and experts who "consult their colleagues in a wide range of disciplines and also seek the advice of the Bulletin's committee of sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates". With the war in Ukraine, a conflict on Europe's doorstep rekindling nightmares of a new world war, the clock could well be drawing dangerously close to midnight. Other international tensions could also direct the choice of scientists towards the announcement of an imminent end of the world. In 2022, North Korea marked a real turning point in the control of ballistic missiles with a record number of shots, raising fears of a nuclear test.

The first time the clock was reset was in 1949, when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb. And the hands were placed furthest from midnight in 1991, with the end of the Cold War, when "the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Arms".  Other news, this time climatic, could also weigh in the balance. On March 18, Antarctica recorded a peak of -11°C, a difference of 40 degrees from seasonal norms in this area. From April, temperatures were around 50°C in India and Pakistan. Finally, in France, 2022 will have been the hottest year ever recorded in the country since records began.


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