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Nuclear winter would be quick and devastating

Ho Hum Nuclear Winter   Overcoming Bias By Robin Hanson · December 20, 2009
From the January Scientific American:

Twenty-five years ago international teams of scientists showed that a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union could produce a “nuclear winter.” … killing plants worldwide and eliminating our food supply. … International discussion about this prediction … forced the leaders of the two superpowers to confront the possibility that their arms race endangered not just themselves but the entire human race. Countries large and small demanded disarmament. Nuclear winter became an important factor in ending the nuclear arms race. … Gorbachev observed, “the knowledge of [nuclear winter] was a great stimulus … to act.”

Why discuss this topic now that the cold war has ended? Because as other nations continue to acquire nuclear weapons, smaller, regional nuclear wars could create a similar global catastrophe.  New analyses reveal that a conflict between India and Pakistan, for example, in which 100 nuclear bombs were dropped … would produce enough smoke to cripple global agriculture. … Not only were the ideas of the 1980s correct but the effects would last for at least 10 years, much longer than previously thought. …

More than 20 million people in the two countries could die from the blasts, fires and radioactivity. … A nuclear war could trigger declines in yield nearly everywhere at once. … Around one billion people worldwide who now live on marginal food supplies would be directly threatened with starvation by a nuclear war between India and Pakistan or between other regional nuclear powers………….

Overcoming Bias : Ho Hum Nuclear Winter

December 23, 2009 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | , , , ,

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