Even a ‘minor’ nuclear war would spur worldwide ecological disaster, expert warns

Friday, August 11, 2017
By Paul Martin

New research has modelled the effects of nuclear bombs on the environment
Nuclear explosions are extremely likely to ignite fires over large areas
This would inject soot into the stratosphere, causing a drop in temperature
This ecological disruption would, in turn, badly affect global food production

11 August 2017

President Donald Trump’s vow to hit North Korea with ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’ is an unveiled threat to unleash America’s most potent weapons of mass destruction onto the Korean peninsula.

According to many defence analysts, the risk of nuclear confrontation over Europe and the Indian subcontinent has also increased in recent years.

In a more hopeful turn of events, 122 countries voted in June to adopt the United Nations Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons in New York.

The ‘ban treaty’ will make nuclear weapons illegal for ratifying countries, and many see it as an opportunity to kick start a renewed effort towards multilateral disarmament.

Supporters of the treaty argue that even a limited, regional nuclear war would produce a catastrophic and global humanitarian crisis.

Equally, other analysts suggest that the reality is not as severe as is often depicted.

In March this year, Matthias Eken, a researcher of attitudes towards nuclear weapons, wrote in The Conversation that their destructive power ‘has been vastly exaggerated’ and that one should avoid overusing ‘doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic language’.

Eken argued that nuclear weapons are not as powerful as often described, on the basis that a 9 megaton thermonuclear warhead dropped over the state of Arkansas would only destroy 0.2% of the state’s surface area.

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