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IPPNW l John Loretz 26 April, 2011
A new IPPNW/PSR study released today at the annual Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Chicago offers compelling scientific evidence that most of the nuclear arsenals in the world —whether large or small—threaten everyone on Earth. The consequences for global agriculture of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, for example, would be so severe and long lasting that we must now fundamentally change our thinking about nuclear weapons and redouble our efforts to eliminate them, according to the study’s author, Ira Helfand.
Dr. Helfand has been working in close consultation with climate scientists Alan Robock, O. B. Toon, and others since 2007, when their research into the global climate effects of a nuclear war using only 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons was featured at an IPPNW conference held in London with the Royal Society of Medicine.
Robock, Toon, and their colleagues—many of whom had worked together with Carl Sagan on the “nuclear winter” studies produced during the Cold War—had come to the startling and largely unexpected conclusion that even a fraction of the nuclear weapons contained in the bloated US and Russian arsenals could disrupt the global climate so severely that the world’s major agricultural centers would sustain unprecedented damage for at least a decade.
Based on existing data about global food reserves, the nutritional status of impoverished populations, and historical evidence about the relationship between volcano-induced climate change and past famines, Dr. Helfand came to a tentative conclusion that a famine caused by the climate effects of a nuclear war on this scale could leave a billion people or more without sufficient food to survive.
What the climate studies did not spell out were the likely percentage declines in specific crops, such as corn and rice, in specific agricultural regions, along with the effects on food availability and prices and the resultant nutritional impact on at-risk populations. A grant from the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs enabled Dr. Helfand to organize a research project that could start to produce some concrete and reliable data with which to address these questions.
Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk—Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition, released today with IPPNW’s US affiliate Physicians for Social Responsibility, outlines research findings soon to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change...
Lynn Eden looked at the effect of only ONE bomb in this chilling examination of an often ignored consequence of nuclear warfare- the firestorm. Military experts have said the likelihood of only a single bomb being dropped would be low to non-existent. Multiple bombs would make this scenario even more devastating.
City on Fire
by Lynn Eden
By ignoring the fire damage that would result from a nuclear attack and taking into account blast damage alone, U.S. war planners were able to demand a far larger nuclear arsenal than necessary.
COLUMBIA — After years of gathering research and making presentations before the United Nations, MU Professor Steve Starr contends that government officials are unaware of the most recent research done on the environmental consequences posed by nuclear weapons.
Starr was asked to speak again on Oct. 25 as part of the U.N.'s October nongovernmental organization military issues presentations. His speech focused on the dangers of harboring nuclear weapons.
Starr supports his claims using environmental research that predicts the consequences of two scenarios: a "regional nuclear war" fought with "100 Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons" and a war between the United States and Russia fought with "high-alert nuclear weapons."
“The weapons on high-alert in the U.S. and Russia combined have 25 times the power of all the bombs detonated in human history,” Starr said.
"Do the people in charge of the weapons have any real idea that these weapons will likely kill everyone on the planet if they are detonated in conflict?" Starr asked in an e-mail.