WASHINGTON (HPD) — The countdown to the end of the world has advanced to 90 seconds because of the war in Ukraine and the potential use of nuclear weapons, according to a science-based activist group.
“We really are closer to the apocalypse,” former Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia said Tuesday in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the annual report that estimates how close humanity is to self-destruction.
Tsakhia and former Irish President Mary Robinson joined a group of scientists to assess what they see as a series of existential threats to humanity, the first being the actions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“People and scientists are warning us and we have to wake up right now,” Tsakhia declared.
Since 1947, the group has used a clock to symbolize the potential and probabilities of the end of humanity. This time the countdown was advanced 10 seconds more than last year, bringing it to its closest point to 12 ever recorded. At the end of the Cold War it was as long as 17 minutes, but in recent years the group has gone from counting minutes to counting seconds to 12.
“We are sending the message that the situation is becoming more urgent,” said the association’s president, Rachel Bronson. “Crises are now more likely and will have greater repercussions.”
In the Bulletin, scientists and activists also mentioned China’s nuclear weapons proliferation, Iran’s uranium enrichment, North Korea’s missile tests, future pandemics caused by animal diseases, pathogens caused by laboratory errors, “disruptive technologies ” and worsening climate change, as other threats to humanity.