June 7, 2010

Is Nuclear War the answer to Global Warming?

By Ai Lung Nguyen - June 2010.

ENVIRONMENT/POLITICS - Trust the Americans to try and find the easy way out of a problem instead of actually trying to fix it.

In 2009 John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor, offered the opinion that the detonation of multiple nuclear warheads in an effort to create a modest nuclear winter might be a solution to global warming and prevent the worst effects of climate change. His idea calls for launching a "relatively small" salvo of nuclear missiles, probably "a few dozen at most."

For years now the United States has been rattling the sabre against nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. While Iran denies having a nuclear weapons program, North Korea has gone the opposite way and openly brags about it... threatening nuclear war against South Korea, Japan and the USA and testing long range intercontinental missiles. North Korea has gone out of its way to show off its missiles in it parades and other public functions, making them a major part of its weapons program.

Following the sinking of the South Korean ship the Cheonan a war with North Korea looks increasingly likely, arguably inevitable. That means South Korean and Japanese cities would be likely targets for nuclear strikes.

For their part North Korea only has two cities with populations bigger than 500,000 and only 10 cities bigger than 300,000, some of which aren't likely military targets because of cultural significance.

However the potential targets aside, it should be noted that a nuclear war doesn't have to be very big to have global cooling side effects. The amount of dust blown upwards by a nuclear blast depends on the size (# of megatons) of the bomb being used and individually they can effect a small amount of global cooling.

The problem is the question of how many bombs (and how many megatons) would cause significant global cooling and possibly even a nuclear winter which would cause a shut down in global food production for several years.

During the 1980s, the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, computer models were made which showed that an all out nuclear war between the two nations would cause a nuclear winter so devastating it would kill all the plants and leave the world in a state of permanent winter that would last decades. The human race would be decimated back to prehistoric levels, if not extinguished entirely.

Similar computer models were conducted to predict the effects of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India and determined that even a small nuclear war could create a nuclear winter which causes a miniature ice age lasting several years, but still enough to devastate plant life.

Food shortages and squabbling over resources would only create more problems and potentially larger wars.

Even an extremely mild nuclear winter would not be a solution to global warming. It would cause too many problems.

Thus while a small nuclear war between Israel and Iran, North Korea and South Korea, or any other potential warmongers the effects of such a nuclear war would actually be extremely harmful to the planet, plant life and ultimately the human race. It is NOT a solution to global warming. The risks of nuclear winter far outweigh any potential benefits.

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