Climatic and Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear War
A nuclear war between any two nations using much less than 1% of the global nuclear arsenal could produce fires that would loft so much smoke into the upper atmosphere that the resulting climate change would be unprecedented in recorded human history. This could threaten millions of people living in extreme poverty to starvation. The largest nuclear nations are still the United States and Russia. Even the reduced arsenals that remain in 2019 due to the New START Treaty threaten the world with nuclear winter. With temperatures plunging below freezing, crops would die and massive starvation could kill most of humanity.
What other climatic and humanitarian effects could the use of nuclear weapons have, and are these arguments strong enough to pressure the nine nuclear states to never actually use these weapons?
Alan Robock, Distinguished Professor of climate science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. His areas of expertise include geoengineering, climatic effects of nuclear war, and the effects of volcanic eruptions on climate.
The seminar was arranged together with the Swedish Pugwash group, and moderated by Christer Ahlström, Director at UI.