Scientists warn that we are 100 seconds away from doomsday. Understand

100 seconds to the end of the world. This is the latest prediction of the Doomsday Clock, released last Thursday (20/1) by American academics from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Although more optimistic than the famous and romantic song Um Minuto Para O Fim Do Mundo, by the band CPM 22 – which predicts “a turn of the clock [ou seja, 60 segundos] to live” –, the situation of humanity is far from comfortable, assess the scientists. One hundred seconds is the worst mark in the entire history of the Doomsday Clock, first published 75 years ago.

The indicator is the same as in the last two years (2020 and 2021), but when analyzing a broader historical series, we are getting closer and closer to the apocalypse. In 1991 there were 17 minutes to go; in 2002, seven; and in 2015, three.

“We are stuck in a dangerous moment – ​​one that brings neither stability nor security,” explains George Washington University professor Sharon Squassoni, co-chair of the Science and Security Council of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.


To understand, the Doomsday Clock is updated every year by Bulletin scientists. The indicator was created in 1947 by scientist Albert Einstein and by researchers at the University of Chicago who participated in the Manhattan Project and, since then, it has tried to demonstrate how close humanity is to destroying itself. That year, there were seven minutes to the end of the world.

Historic Doomsday Clock series, released by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

It is as if everything that has happened on our planet is compressed into a single year. Life would have appeared in early March, multicellular organisms in November, dinosaurs in late December, and humans just before 11:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. So learned, and teaches us, the researcher SJ Beard, from the University of Cambridge.

“Then she [a professora de Beard] compared that big swath of history to how short our future might be, and told us how a group of scientists in the US thought we might only have a few metaphorical minutes left until midnight.” .

In practice, this is all a symbol of danger, caution and responsibility.

“[É um alerta ao] public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making. It is a metaphor, a reminder of the dangers we must face if we are to survive on the planet,” said former Bulletin Executive Director Kennette Benedict.


Time is based on ongoing and dangerous threats posed by nuclear weapons, climate change, disruptive technologies and now Covid-19.

In the past year, according to atomic scientists, all of these factors have been exacerbated by “an ecosphere of corrupted information that undermines rational decision-making.” Not even the election of US President Joe Biden, who believes in climate change and has committed to mitigating global emissions, has not improved the prospects for the end of humanity.

Thus, sticking to 100 seconds for the Doomsday does not suggest that the international security situation has stabilized. On the contrary, “the clock remains the closest it has ever been to the apocalypse of civilization”.

“The clock is not set by signs of good intentions, but by evidence of action or, in this case, inaction. The signs of new arms races are clear,” says Scott D. Sagan of Stanford University.

“The experience of a deepening crisis has fueled protests and other alarms from civil society this year. These actions focus public attention on climate change and increase its political relevance, but whether they will transform policies, investments and behavior remain among the most important issues facing global society.”


Bulletin scientists list a series of steps to move humanity away from its doom.

“Last year we expected the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that end is not yet in sight. The leaders of the richest and most advanced countries have not acted with the speed and focus necessary to manage dire threats to the future of humanity,” the academics report.

“Our decision to keep the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight is a clear warning to the world: we need to step away from the door of doom.”

Check out the main steps below:

  • The presidents of Russia and the US must identify more ambitious and comprehensive limits on nuclear weapons and delivery systems by the end of 2022. Both must agree to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons;
  • The United States and other countries must accelerate their decarbonization, combining policies with commitments.
  • China must lead by example in pursuing sustainable development paths – without fossil fuel-intensive projects;
  • The US and other leaders should work through the World Health Organization and other international institutions to reduce biological hazards of all kinds through better monitoring of animal-human interactions, improvements in international disease surveillance and reporting, and increased production and distribution of medical supplies;
  • The US should persuade allies and rivals that not using nuclear weapons for the first time is a step towards security and stability and then declare such a policy jointly with Russia (and China);
  • President Biden must eliminate the US president’s exclusive authority to launch nuclear weapons and work to persuade other nuclear-armed countries to put up similar barriers;
  • Russia should rejoin the NATO-Russia Council and collaborate on risk reduction and escalation prevention measures.
  • North Korea should codify its moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile tests and help other countries verify a moratorium on the production of enriched uranium and plutonium;
  • Iran and the United States must jointly return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and begin new and broader talks on Middle East security and missile restrictions;
  • Private and public investors must redirect funds from fossil fuel projects to climate-friendly investments;
  • The world’s richest countries must provide more financial support and technological cooperation to developing countries to undertake strong climate action. Investments in Covid recovery should advance climate mitigation and adaptation objectives across all economic sectors and address the full range of potential greenhouse gas emission reductions, including capital investments in urban development, agriculture, transport, heavy industry. , buildings and appliances and electricity;
  • National leaders and international organizations must devise more effective regimes to monitor biological research and development efforts;
  • Governments, technology companies, academic experts, and media organizations must cooperate to identify and implement practical and ethical ways to combat Internet-enabled disinformation and misinformation;
  • At every reasonable opportunity, citizens of all countries should hold their local, regional and national political officials, business and religious leaders to account by asking “What are you doing to address climate change?”.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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