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Ominous estimates for 2023: ‘Doomsday clock’ warns of biggest nuclear threat since 1945 Hiroshima

Ominous estimates for 2023: 'Doomsday clock' warns of biggest nuclear threat since 1945 Hiroshima 1

The Global Challenges Foundation, the Swedish group that assesses catastrophic risks, made the relevant warning in its annual report.

He says that the threat of using nuclear weapons is the greatest since 1945 when the USA destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Simply put, the experts who operate the so-called “Doomsday clock” say that our planet is closer than ever to a nuclear war.

Entering 2022, few would have expected US President Biden to be talking about nuclear destruction, following Russia’s nuclear threats to Ukraine. 

At the same time, in 2022, missile tests were permanent in Asia – Kim Jong-un’s drills cause continuous disruption to neighbors, as North Korea is also a nuclear power. U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea is ready for a seventh nuclear test.

Meanwhile, Biden has effectively declared dead a deal on Iran’s disputed nuclear project, and tensions between India and Pakistan have remained at low point.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the planet is “on an avenue to climate hell with our foot on the gas” with last year’s severe flooding in Pakistan, an unprecedented 70-day heatwave in China and the crops failing to bear fruit in the Horn of Africa.

The report by the Global Challenges Foundation warned that a full nuclear weapons exchange, in addition to causing massive loss of life, would cause clouds of dust that would shade the sun, reduce the ability to produce food and usher in “a period of chaos and violence, which the most of the surviving world population would starve to death.” 

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While a Russian nuclear strike would likely involve small “tactical” nukes, experts fear a rapid escalation if the United States responds.

“Then we’re in a completely different game,” said Benedict, senior adviser to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which in January will reveal its latest assessment of the “doomsday clock” set at 100 seconds to midnight from 2021.

The 75 years old risk assessment mechanism

The Doomsday Clock, this mechanism for assessing the risks facing humanity was created 75 years ago and is maintained to this day.

It is a warning mechanism intended to warn Humanity that something is very wrong and needs to be fixed. But nothing is fixed and Humanity continues unbroken until “zero hour” (12 o’clock is simultaneously zero hour).

This year was the third year in a row that the hands of the clock showed just 100 seconds before midnight, meaning our planet is much closer to annihilation than it was during the Cold War.

The “Doomsday Clock” was created by the board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947 as a scientific response to the nuclear threat looming over the globe.

Its basic idea is simple: the closer the minute hand gets to midnight, the closer the panel of sages believe the world is to doom.

In 1991 it was, for example, 17 minutes before midnight, while in 1953 we were just 2 minutes away.

According to the Bulletin, the Clock is not an indicator of the ups and downs of the global struggle for power and authority, as what it actually does is reflect the fundamental changes in the levels of danger facing humanity in our nuclear age.

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The “Apocalypse Clock” has certainly not been immune to the criticism that has been leveled against it and many have succeeded against the reversals of its indicators. But also in the very possibility of destruction and its calculation methods.

A 1.4% annual probability of a nuclear incident, for example, might seem a fairly accurate number, but the estimate is based on a list of possible factors and loose correlations, the Clock’s fanatics claim.

It is of course important to keep in mind that the clock does not aim for absolute accuracy. It is a symbolic structure for the levels of danger humanity faces in nuclear primarily terms and, as the scientists say, the purpose behind its operation is “to inform the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity”.

The Bulletin takes many factors into account in setting its Clock indicators: nuclear threats, climate change, bio-security and bio-terrorism indicators, even cyber-warfare incidents and developments in artificial intelligence. That’s why the pointers are constantly “jumping” and moving away from or approaching midnight.

In 1947, for example, we were 7 minutes from midnight because of the high risk of a nuclear conflict. In 1949 the hands locked at 3 minutes, when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb.

In 1952 the markers touched the historic two minutes from midnight, when the US created the hydrogen bomb.

In 1963, when nuclear testing in the atmosphere ended, the Clock went to 12 minutes, but fell to 3 minutes in 1984, when the Cold War reached new year-long highs.

When Cold War polarization ended in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR, the world was relieved. So did the Doom Clock which went to 17 minutes from the end.

In 2015, however, it fell to 3 minutes before midnight, due to the modernization of the nuclear arsenal and the excess of nuclear weapons.

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In 2016 the clock remained stable at 3 minutes as the dangers threatening the universe continued to be many: terrorism, nuclear threats and cyberwar while in 2022 it stopped at 100 seconds.

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