The Doomsday Clock setting for this year (based on events in 2023) was once again set at 90 seconds ‘til midnight, the same as last year.
I recommend listening to the broadcast when you have an opportunity. There is also a written summary with links to webpages with more details on each area of concern. Briefly, the contributions to the clock-setting were familiar:
- Global conflicts, especially in Ukraine and the Middle East, and potentially in Taiwan potentially could escalate to use of nuclear weapons
- Global warming continues unabated, with 2023 being the warmest year in the official instrumental record. It was also one of, if not THE, warmest years in the 24,000 year reconstructed record, as we can see below. Note the 1,000-year cooling about 13,000 years ago (called the Younger Dryas), which was probably caused by a massive flux of fresh water from the melting glaciers over North America, which caused a temporary shutdown of the meridional ocean circulation.
On a more positive note, the U.S. saw its global warming emissions decrease 1.9% in 2023 because of a decrease in coal and increased renewables in the energy mix.
- Biological threats, both natural and from human research, may cause pandemics endangering large swaths of the population. A recent story from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland stated that a theoretical future potential pathogen, dubbed Disease X, could be 20 times more deadly than COVID-19.
- Disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) has already been used to plant conspiracy theories to insert falsehoods into social, political, and scientific interaction world-wide. For example, false claims about vaccines and untruthful side effects such as autism in children. Eradicated diseases such as measles in the last couple of years have shown a resurgence because of these falsehoods.
I strongly recommend checking out both the video and the text summary describing the dangers and challenges ahead.
Think of the Chinese characters for “crisis”: danger and opportunity.
(Yeah, I know that translation is not accurate, but the phrase truly represents the current world situation.)