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Can the World Afford a Nuclear War?

Eva: I just learned from one of my professors at grad school that we have more than twice the amount of military power than Russia, China, India, Japan, Europe and Brazil together. I think that is amazing don’t you?
Helen: Yes, I do.
Eva: And not only that but he was also explained to us that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have great superiority to relation to everyone else too.
Helen: That’s cool.
Eva: I guess while we have such a superior power we don’t have to worry about being destroyed or harm in any way by another country.
Helen: Well, I used to think that until recently. Last week I read an article by Alan Robock and Owen Brian Toon in the January 2010 issue of Scientific American where they explained that: “in a nuclear war in between Pakistan and India Nuclear bombs dropped on cities and industrial areas in a fight between India and Pakistan would start firestorms that would put massive amounts of smoke into the upper atmosphere. The particles would remain there for years, blocking the sun, making the earth’s surface cold, dark and dry. Agricultural collapse and mass starvation could follow. Hence, global cooling could result from a regional war, not just a conflict between the U.S. and Russia.
Cooling scenarios are based on computer models. But observations of volcanic eruptions, forest fire smoke and other phenomena provide confidence that the models are correct.”
Eva: You mean that we don’t even have to be involved in a nuclear war and nevertheless we can be greatly affected by it; but how much harm could such a war bring to us?
Helen: Well smoke will cloak the earth blocking the sun as a result of a regional nuclear war in between Pakistan and India. Therefore as many as one billion people worldwide could die of starvation due to an agricultural collapse caused by a nuclear winter. Also in case we are lucky and survive our living conditions might become a nightmare with very low temperatures, almost no food and an increased radiation rate in the world atmosphere.
Published Jun 14 2010, 02:54 PM by cartoon
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