The Doomsday Clock has been set at 90 seconds to midnight by scientists as they warn of “unprecedented danger”, largely due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The shift puts it ten seconds closer to midnight, having previously been set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2020.
The clock is a symbolic timepiece designed to show how close the world is to ending.
Its keepers at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have also cited biological threats, nuclear proliferation, the climate crisis, state-sponsored disinformation and disruptive technology as reasons.
Rachel Bronson, chief executive at the Bulletin, said: “As UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres warned this past August, the world has entered a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.”
Speaking about the war between Russia and Ukraine, she said: “There is no clear pathway for forging a just peace that discourages future aggression under the shadow of nuclear threat.
“The US Government, its Nato allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue. We urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability.”
She added: “We move the clock forward, the closest it has ever been to midnight. It is now, 90 seconds to midnight.”
The countdown was established in 1947 by experts from the Bulletin who were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb.
The concerned US scientists set up the Doomsday Clock to provide a simple way of demonstrating the danger to the Earth and humanity posed by nuclear war.
It is an independent non-profit organisation run by some of the world’s most eminent scientists.