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Default Timeline of the Doomsday Clock [Minutes to midnight]

Timeline of the Doomsday Clock [Minutes to midnight]
Year Change (min) Reason
1947 7 €” initial setting of the Clock.
1949 3 -4 USSR tests its first atomic bomb,
officially starting the nuclear arms race.
1953 2 -1 The US tests its first thermonuclear
device in Nov 1952 as part of Operation Ivy, before the
Soviet Union follows suit with the Joe 4 test in August.
This remained the clock's closest approach to midnight
(tied in 2018) until 2020.
1960 7 +5 In response to a perception of increased
scientific cooperation & public understanding of the dangers
of nuclear weapons (as well as political actions taken to
avoid "massive retaliation"), the US & USSR cooperate & avoid
direct confrontation in regional conflicts such as the 1956
Suez Crisis, the 1958 Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, & the
1958 Lebanon crisis. Scientists from various countries help
establish the International Geophysical Year, a series of
coordinated, worldwide scientific observations between nations
allied with both the US & the USSR, & the Pugwash Conferences
on Science & World Affairs, which allow Soviet & American
scientists to interact.
1963 12 +5 The US & USSR sign the Partial Test Ban
Treaty, limiting atmospheric nuclear testing.
1968 7 -5 The involvement of the US in the Vietnam
War intensifies, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 takes place,
& the Six-Day War occurs in 1967. France & China, two nations
which have not signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty, acquire &
test nukes to assert themselves as global players in the
nuclear arms race.
1969 10 +3 Every nation, with the notable exceptions
of India, Israel, & Pakistan, signs the Nuclear Non-Prolifer-
ation Treaty.
1972 12 +2 The US & USSR sign the first Strategic
Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) & the Anti-Ballistic Missile
(ABM) Treaty.
1974 9 -3 India tests a nuclear device, & SALT II
talks stall. Both the US & USSR modernize multiple independently
targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).
1980 7 -2 Unforeseeable end to deadlock in American€“
Soviet talks as the Soviet€“Afghan War begins. As a result of
the war, the US Senate refuses to ratify the SALT II agreement.
1981 4 -3 The Clock is adjusted in early 1981. The
Soviet war in Afghan toughens the US' nuclear posture. Carter
withdraws the US from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The Carter
admin considers ways in which the US could win a nuclear war.
Reagan becomes President, scraps further arms reduction talks
with the USSR, & argues that the only way to end the Cold War
is to win it. Tensions between the US & USSR contribute to the
danger of nuclear annihilation as they each deploy intermediate-
range missiles in Europe. The adjustment also accounts for the
Iran hostage crisis, the Iran€“Iraq War, China's atmospheric
nuclear warhead test, the declaration of martial law in
Poland, apartheid in South Africa, and human rights abuses
across the world.
1984 3 -1 Further escalation of the tensions between
the US & USSR, with the ongoing Soviet€“Afghan War intensifying
the Cold War. US Pershing IIs & cruise missiles are deployed
in W Europe. Reagan pushes to win the Cold War by intensifying
the arms race between the superpowers. The Soviet Union & its
allies (except Romania) boycott the 1984 Olympics in LA, as a
response to the U.S-led boycott in 1980.
1988 6 +3 In Dec 1987, the Clock is moved back 3 min
as the US & the USSR sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Treaty, to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles, &
their relations improve.
1990 10 +4 The fall of the Berlin Wall & the Iron
Curtain, along with the reunification of Germany, mean that the
Cold War is nearing its end.
1991 17 +7 The US & USSR sign the first Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), & the USSR dissolves on Dec 26.
This is the farthest from midnight the Clock has been since
its inception.
1995 14 -3 Global military spending continues at
Cold War levels amid concerns about post-Soviet nuclear
proliferation of weapons and brainpower.
1998 9 -5 Both India & Pakistan test nukes in a
tit-for-tat show of aggression; the US & Russia run into
difficulties in further reducing stockpiles.
2002 7 -2 Little progress on global disarmament.
US rejects a series of arms control treaties & announces its
intentions to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, amid concerns
about the possibility of a terrorist attack due to the amount
of weapon-grade nuclear materials that are unsecured &
unaccounted for worldwide.
2007 5 -2 N Korea tests a nuke in Oct 2006, Iran's
nuclear ambitions, a renewed American emphasis on the military
utility of nukes, the failure to adequately secure nuclear
materials, & the continued presence of some 26,000 nukes in
the US & Russia. After assessing the dangers posed to
civilization, climate change was added to the prospect of
nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to mankind.
2010 6 +1 Worldwide cooperation to reduce nuclear
arsenals & limit effect of climate change. New START agreement
is ratified by both the US & Russia, & more negotiations for
further reductions in the American & Russian nuclear arsenal
are already planned. The 2009 UN Climate Change Conference
in Copenhagen results in the developing & industrialized
countries agreeing to take responsibility for carbon emissions
& to limit global temp rise to 2 degrees C.
2012 5 -1 Lack of global political action to
address global climate change, nuclear weapons stockpiles,
the potential for regional nuclear conflict, & nuclear power
2015 3 -2 Concerns amid continued lack of global
political action to address global climate change, the
modernization of nukes in the US & Russia, & the problem
of nuclear waste.
2017 2 1/2 -?1/2 Trump's comments over nuclear weapons,
the threat of a renewed arms race between the US & Russia, &
the expressed disbelief in the scientific consensus over
climate change by the Trump admin.
2018 2 -?1/2 The failure of world leaders to deal
with looming threats of nuclear war & climate change. This
is the clock's 2nd closest approach to midnight, matching
that of 1953. In 2019, the Bulletin reaffirmed the "two
minutes to midnight" time, citing continuing climate change
& Trump admin's abandonment of US efforts to lead the world
to decarbonization; US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement,
the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, & the Intermediate-
Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; US & Russian nuclear moderni-
zation efforts; info warfare threats & other dangers from
"disruptive tech" such as synthetic biology, AI, & cyberwarfare.
2020 100 sec. ?1/3 Failure of world leaders to deal with
the increased threats of nuclear war, such as the end of
the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between
the US & Russia as well as increased tensions between the
US & Iran, along with the continued neglect of climate
change. Announced in units of seconds, instead of minutes;
this is the clock's closest approach to midnight, exceeding
that of 1953 & 2018. The Bulletin concluded by stating that
the current issues causing the adjustment are "the most
dangerous situation that humanity has ever faced."
In 2021, the Bulletin reaffirmed the "100 seconds to
midnight" time setting.