Scientists Warn Nuclear War Would Make the World Colder, Darker and Hungrier

Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin warns repeatedly that he could use nuclear arms if he believed Russian or Russian-inspired propagandaseized) territory was threatened, tensions also remain high in other potential nuclear flashpoints from North KoreaTaiwan to the border regions of China, IndiaAnd Pakistan.

This is just as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) just began its journey. annual nuclear training exercises in Belgium. The U.S. is estimated to have a population of approximately 100 non-strategic nuclear weaponsSix military bases were established in Belgium, Germany and Italy. Russia is expected to keep its own nuclear exercisesAlthough officials from the U.S. say it is likely soon No notification has been given as required under the legislation. New START treaty.

On October 6, President Joe Biden warnedThe threat of Armageddon had reached its highest point since 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis. The world is still focused on the Threat Scientists, academics and other experts warn about the dangers of nuclear war.

Recent reports co-authored by Alan RobockRutgers University distinguished professor, Dr., paints a portrait of a post nuclear war world that is colder and darker than the usual description in nuclear reporting.

In these reports, scientists explain how nuclear weapons, if used in a range of circumstances, could cause firestorms that would release smoke, soot and pollutants into the upper atmosphere, blocking sunlight and causing a sudden cooling effect long known as “nuclear winter.” Such a disturbance would impact the world’s oceansAnd it’s dramatic undermine food securityPotentially, this could cause a large-scale agricultural collapse that could lead to global hunger.

The journal AGU Advances,Scientists have reported that global cooling from a nuclear war could cause ocean and sea-ice ecology disruptions for decades, or even centuries. This could kill marine life and disrupt natural systems.

A second reportPublished in Nature FoodThis illustration shows how nuclear weapons, such as enormous wildfiresIt would unleash sootIn the stratosphere, that could persist for many years. Similar to historic massive volcanic eruptionsA nuclear weapon’s use could cause global destruction, leading to a sudden cooling that can lead to widespread crop failure, extreme political instability, and famine.

Below a range nuclear war scenarios,Multiple nuclear detonations of 15 to 100 kilotons could cause the death of hundreds or even thousands of people in just a few hours or days. Non-strategic U.S. nuclear warheads can range from 0.3 to 170 kilogramons. Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Nagasaki were destroyed by bombs that weighed approximately 15 and 21 kilogramons, respectively.

A major nuclear war between Russia, the United States and China could lead to a nuclear winter that could see as many as 5.3billion people starve within two years.

The sun being blocked from sunlight would quickly cause the collapse of staple crops like wheat and maize, as well as rice and soybeans, resulting in a sudden shortage of food. The greatest drop in calorie production would occur in countries located in the northern latitudes, including nuclear-armed Russia, the United Kingdom and France, China, North Korea, and the United States.

Although calorie reductions might be less severe in a regional nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan, depending on the situation, other problems such as the destruction of infrastructure, radiation poisoning and large-scale death would provide the most comforting of all.

The disruption to agriculture would not be evenly distributed. Therefore, some countries in southern latitudes such as Australia or New Zealand could experience more severe climate impacts. However, unprecedented waves would be faced by refugees fleeing from nuclear and climate-impacted nations.

The Nature Food study’s authors conclude: “…the reduced light, global cooling and likely trade restrictions after nuclear wars would be a global catastrophe for food security.”

Speaking withTruthout Robock, who has been studying nuclear winter since 1984, said that while current computer models are more comprehensive, the basic idea that if sunlight is blocked, the Earth’s surface will be colder and darker hasn’t changed since he began studying the threat.

In the 1980s, Robock, his Russian counterparts and his colleagues presented similar findings to Ronald Reagan (and Mikhail Gorbachev) and the U.S. and Russian leaders published a joint statement declaring that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The same declaration was repeated by the UN Security Council’s five permanent members (P5) with nuclear weapons (Russia, U.S., China, France, U.K.) last January, but their subsequent rhetoric and actions call their commitment to not using nuclear weapons into question.

Contrary to the 1980s, in the 1990s, there was no shortage of people who were able to afford it. massive demonstrations against nuclear weapons pressured leaders to sharply reduce their arsenals, today’s threat of nuclear war has not yet translated into worldwide protests.

“We’ve calculated [that] even though the number of weapons has gone down, there’s still enough to produce a nuclear winter if Russia and the U.S. have a nuclear war,” Robock says, noting that unlike the other nuclear-armed nations whose arsenals are limited to no more than a few hundred, both the U.S. and Russia still maintain thousands of nuclear warheads.

“If you wanted to threaten the use of [nuclear weapons]How many capitals must you put on your enemy’s capital to deter an attack? The answer is one,” he says. “Maybe you need two, but a couple hundred is more than enough, so why don’t the U.S. and Russia get down to a couple hundred right now?” Such a reduction in stockpiles, Robock says, would greatly reduce the danger of nuclear winter.

Robock said that the climatological effects of nuclear war are not the same thing as trying to mitigate climate change using methods like stratospheric geoengineeringOr climate intervention. “This would be instant climate change, not gradual climate change. A nuclear winter would cool down a lot and kill all of our crops.”

A Medical Disaster

In February, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) published a report entitled “No Place to Hide: Nuclear Weapons and the Collapse of Health Care SystemsThis study examined how a nuclear bomb could be detonated in ten major cities. The projections of casualties ranged from more than 260,000 to more that 1.2 million injuries from a single 100-kiloton nuclear bomb.

Even though they are well-equipped, hospitals in major cities like London, Beijing, and Washington, D.C., would not be able to adequately respond to a nuclear weapon. Doctors and nurses would be overwhelmed by the number of patients who require treatment for severe burns, fractures, concussions and other serious injuries. Hospitals and health care professionals would be among those who died and were almost certain to be destroyed. The number of people who would need emergency treatment will likely be much higher than that of those who were in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The possible damage to vital communications, transportation infrastructure, and other critical technology could make it difficult or impossible for even basic care to be provided. Computers, vehicles and medical equipment would all be severely affected or rendered inoperable. It is possible to cut off essential water, electricity, and sewage systems. This could lead to a shortage of medicine and supplies in the short term. The long-term impact on supply chains for medicine and equipment will be severe.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been doing the same thing for years. warnedThere is no way for any medical system to respond to nuclear weapons of any type or size. In the words of former ICRC President Peter Maurer, “if a nuclear weapon were to detonate in or near a populated area, no state or international body could adequately address the immediate humanitarian emergency nor the long-term consequences, nor provide sufficient assistance to victims.”

A Civilization-Ending Event

Ira Helfand, a co-chair and a long-standing emergency room physician, is Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee, spoke withTruthoutBy video call from Massachusetts

Helfand describes the current nuclear crises as a global near-death experience. But, he warns that unless humanity realizes how close we are, it is possible to fail to take the necessary actions to reduce the danger and avert future catastrophes. He is concerned that we won’t be able to address the root causes of the current crisis if we don’t make fundamental changes.

Helfand points out the importance of recent scientific research in helping to make the connection between climate and nuclear crises. Helfand says that a nuclear attack would not only cause a climate catastrophe, but also increase the likelihood of a nuclear conflict. Large regions of the planet will be rendered inaccessible. unfit for human habitationGlobal tension will rise, and climate catastrophes will create more refugees.

“People are talking about the need to relocate perhaps more than a billion people,” says Helfand. “That doesn’t happen smoothlyAnd easily. That generates enormous amounts of conflict.” Ten or 15 years from now when the climate crisis has worsened, the movement of tens or hundreds of millions of people will cause tremendous political instability. If nuclear weapons are “still on the table,” Helfand says, there’s a greater chance they may be used.

He points to burgeoning climate crises in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia where he fears two nuclear-armed countries — India and Pakistan — are on a collision course, not because of ideology, religion or political doctrine, but because of water. Melting Himalayan glaciers, catastrophic flooding, changing rainfall patterns and control over essential water flowCould set the scene for a future conflictBetween Pakistan, India and China

“We’re in a situation where there has to be a totally different way for great powers to interact with each other,” shifting from a model based on competition to one based on cooperation, Helfand says. “If such a crisis reaches its full fruition and becomes a military conflict between two nuclear-armed states, we’re going to have a civilization-ending event.”

After a nuclear conflict, the aftermath would be chaotic as survivors fought to save what was left. Any nation that might “come out on top” of a nuclear conflict would have the “ash heap of human civilization” to claim as its own, he says.

Helfand believes there is a chance to work together before such a terrible scenario happens. Leaders must be honest, courageous, truthful, and open to telling people what they need to do. To ensure survival, it is essential that there is a paradigm shift where nations recognize the need for cooperation. “This just can’t go on indefinitely,” he warns. “Either we’re going to do something very fundamentally different, or we’re going to have a nuclear war and that needs to be clearly understood by everyone.”

This could be the last chance

Susi Snyder, ICAN’s financial section coordinator, believes that even a small nuclear detonation could have a large-scale ripple effect. She points to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of how a large-scale disruption’s impact can continue for years.

When thinking of a nuclear weapon’s aftermath, Snyder says that beyond the death and destruction, there would be associated disruption of transportation, trade, commerce, travel and global markets. The current war in Ukraine has already caused food and energy crises across multiple countries. A nuclear war would be even worse. A nuclear weapon could disrupt commodity and resource markets, creating instability and uncertainty, as well as driving the demand for alternative sources of food, energy, and raw materials. These abrupt shifts could also pose a threat to human rights and the environment of places that are suddenly in high demand.

Depending on how limited or widespread the use of nuclear weapons was, much of what is considered “normal” for most people in developed countries — reliable communications, transportation, the availability of household utilities, food, consumer goods, and even travel and entertainment — could be disrupted or cut off.

The damage from even a relatively “small” or limited nuclear detonation would likely draw humanitarian aid away from other areas. Even in such a scenario, Snyder says, “every place will be affected in some way.” Because a nuclear threat has the potential to harm every part of the planet, Snyder says countries that are usually left out of the nuclear discussion are becoming more vocal, emphasizing the humanitarian and environmental risks to countries geographically far removed from nuclear-armed nations.

Post-Cold War views that nuclear weapons are no threat have quickly vanished. frustration is growingAs the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(NPT has failed to end the nuclear arms race or achieve complete nuclear disarmament.

Recognizing that nuclear weapons must be eliminated immediately, 68 countriesHave adopted and ratified the more recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons(TPNW), which came into effect in 2021. TPNW prohibits nuclear weapons development, testing and production, as well as acquisition, possession, transfer, stockpiling, and threat of using them.

The TPNW is not recognized or recognized by the P5 nuclear weapon states nor the four other nuclear-armed countries (India, Pakistan and Israel), Instead, they embrace deterrence. Nuclear deterrence — the threat to use one’s nuclear weapons against another state — Snyder says, allows for naked conventional weapon aggression without fear of reprisal, as is being demonstrated by Russia in Ukraine today.

She also noted that there are dozens of multinational corporationswho profit from the production of nuclear weapons and have an interest in their perpetuation. She says this raises the question, “Is it ok to incinerate a cityWithin 30 minutes or less If it’s legitimate, then the pathway is nuclear weapons for everybody. And if it’s not legitimate, then there really is one choice — to end nuclear weapons for everybody.”

It takes only 45 minutes to go between the decision to launch nuclear weapons and the detonation that could suddenly end all of life, so it is important to think carefully about the consequences of using nuclear arms. There is no more time to look away. People around the world — especially in nuclear armed nations — have a responsibility to pressure politicians to abolish these horrific weapons. Without a sharp increase in vocal and mobilized opposition to the unstable and unsustainable nuclear threat, the danger will continue and eventually, many fear, humanity’s luck will run out. Now is the time for each of us to take whatever action we can — because no one knows if or when nuclear weapons will be used again, very possibly for the final time.