The Clock is Ticking

Chomsky, Noam
Date Written:  2023-03-27
Publisher:  The Progressive Magazine
Year Published:  2023
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX24949

With landmark anniversaries of the invasions of Iraq and Ukraine, and the failure to address global heating, Chomsky argues that ninety seconds to midnight (the new set time for the doomsday clock, a universally recognized indicator of world's vulnerability to global catastrophe) may be too generous an appraisal.



The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock has recently been set to ninety seconds to midnight, the closest it has come to termination. The analysts who set the clock cited the two most salient reasons: the growing threat of nuclear war and the failure to take the required measures to prevent global heating from reaching a point where it will be too late, not a remote contingency.

We can add a third reason: the lack of public understanding of the urgency of these crises. This is illustrated graphically in a recent Pew Research Center poll that offered respondents a set of issues to rank in order of urgency. Nuclear war didn’t even make the list. Climate change was ranked close to last; among Republicans, only 13 percent said mitigating climate change should be a top priority.

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