from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Apocalypse Now: It’s Time to Watch the Doomsday Clock

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock” in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2018.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock” in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The Doomsday Clock reads just 100 seconds to midnight. Whether the world moves in a more hopeful direction this year depends partly on the United States.

Originally published at World Politics Review

February 1, 2021, 7:00 am (EST)

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock” in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2018.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock” in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
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In my weekly column for World Politics ReviewI write about the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ latest installment of its famous “Doomsday Clock,” why it still serves a useful purpose, and the three catastrophic threats it incorporates.

Last Wednesday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in December, unveiled the latest installment of its famous “Doomsday Clock,” which purports to measure how close the world is catastrophe. When it first appeared in 1947, at the dawn of the nuclear age, its hands were set at 7 minutes to midnight. In the intervening years, it’s moved both closer to and farther from that witching hour. The most comforting installment appeared in 1991, amid the sudden end of the Cold War, when the Clock was reset to a sanguine 17 minutes to midnight.

More on:

Nuclear Weapons

Climate Change

Coronavirus

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That optimism has long since receded, replaced by pervasive foreboding. Last year, the Bulletin’s scientists moved the Clock’s hands to just 100 seconds to midnight, the closest ever to apocalypse. Last week, they left it unchanged, signaling their continued alarm. In making their call, the scientists cited the dangerous confluence of a fraying nuclear order, accelerating climate change and a raging pandemic.

Read the full World Politics Review article here. 

More on:

Nuclear Weapons

Climate Change

Coronavirus

Joe Biden

Global Governance

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