Nuclear Famine: climate effects of regional nuclear war


Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk? [PDF]

New research into the climate effects of the use of nuclear weapons shows that previous studies significantly underestimated global declines in food production and the numbers of people at risk of mass starvation.


Nuclear Famine

A nuclear war using as few as 100 weapons anywhere in the world would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that the lives of more than two billion people would be in jeopardy.

The second edition of IPPNW’s report Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk—Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition explains how even the relatively small nuclear arsenals of countries such as India and Pakistan could cause long lasting, global damage to the Earth’s ecosystems.

Among the specific findings in Nuclear Famine, which was originally released in April 2012, are:

The new findings, published in 2013, paint an even grimmer picture:

“The prospect of a decade of widespread hunger and intense social and economic instability in the world’s largest country has immense implications for the entire global community, as does the possibility that the huge declines in Chinese wheat production will be matched by similar declines in other wheat producing countries.,” said the report’s author, Dr. Ira Helfand.

Nuclear Famine is the second IPPNW publication to address the global health and environmental consequences of a nuclear war using only a fraction of the more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Zero is the Only Option: Four Medical and Environmental Cases for the Eradication of Nuclear Weapons, published in 2010, describes the severe climate disruption that would result from a “limited” nuclear war, and summarizes the medical consequences of blast, heat, and radiation from nuclear explosions.

Follow the links in the highlighted resources box (above) for more detailed information, including fact sheets, scientific papers, and a Powerpoint presentation that can be used by doctors, medical students, and grassroots activists to disseminate these findings and explain their importance.

For more information about IPPNW’s work to educate the public and policy makers about the medical, environmental, and humanitarian consequences of nuclear war, contact John Loretz, Program Director, IPPNW, 66-70 Union Square, #204, Somerville, MA 02143; 617.440.1733, ext. 308.