On January 17th, 2007, scientists changed the Doomsday Clock from seven minutes to midnight up to five minutes to midnight. This change indicated their belief that the world had edged closer to nuclear armageddon.
Although this was in direct response to North Korea’s first nuclear test, it was also a reflection of the fact that the two major nuclear powers, the USA and Russia, were stalled in negotiations on nuclear arsenal reduction. This was leading to increased tensions globally. Additionally, the scientists behind the Doomsday Clock were now beginning to consider the increasingly dire threat of climate change.
The statement on the reasons for moving the Doomsday Clock forward also included some suggestions on reducing the threats to humanity. These included:
- Reduce overall readiness of nuclear forces in both the US and Russia
- Remove nuclear weapons from day-to-day military operations
- Cease production of nuclear weapons materials
- Engage in political discussions about the proliferation of nuclear technologies and their environmental impact
The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 in response to the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons, in particular the arms race between the USA and the Soviet Union. It has been reset 24 times since then. Over the years, it has been updated to include threats from other sources, such as environmental catastrophes or pandemics.
The last reset was in 2021, and the clock is currently at 100 seconds to midnight, closer than ever before. The latest statement raised concerns about the global pandemic and threats from hypersonic missiles with nuclear capabilities.