ARTICLES, DOCUMENTS AND REPORTS

In this section you will find a series of articles on issues that relate to the themes of nuclear disarmament and consequences of their existence. In addition, there are documents from religious and interfaith organizations that relate to nuclear weapons, as well as statements from the United Nations.  This section will be updated on a regular basis and we look to members of Voices and those who visit our site to alert us to other materials and references that should appear on these pages.

Granoff, Jonathan (2020). Application of the Timeless Wisdom of Gandhi and King Today

Unity Earth Family, Thank you for helping us learn to walk in the footsteps of men who devoted their
lives to peace, justice, freedom and love.


In America I am reminded that there would be no Black Lives Matter movement today in the US without
Rev. Martin Luther King. There would be no King without the wisdom of Ahimsa -- nonviolence in
intention, thought and deed -- brought into action by Mahatma Gandhi.


Today, knowing without turning away, of the history changing reality of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, it is a
moral imperative to work to ensure it does not ever happen again, calls us to bring Ahimsa into action.


The destruction of Hiroshima demonstrated a failure to grasp the danger of allowing technology and
science in the service of war.

Brigadier General T.F. Farrell described the moment he saw the blast of the first atomic bomb test: The
effects could well be called unprecedented, magnificent, beautiful, stupendous, and terrifying. No man-
made phenomenon of such tremendous power had ever occurred before. The lighting effects beggared
description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the
midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray and blue. It lighted every peak, crevasse and ridge of the
nearby mountain range with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described and must be seen to be
imagined. Seconds after the explosion came, first, the air blast pressing hard against the people, to be
followed almost immediately by the strong, sustained awesome roar which warned of doomsday and
made us feel we puny things were blasphemous to dare tamper with the forces heretofore reserved for
the Almighty.

READ MORE

‘We want books not nukes!’
The first Voices Youth award goes to World Future Council Youth Ambassador, Kehkashan Basu

August 5, 2020
 

The inaugural Voices Youth Award, a prestigious new prize to honour youth actions for a nuclear-weapons-free world, has been won by World Future Council Youth Ambassador Kehkashan Basu, a student and youth activist from Toronto, Canada who grew up in the United Arab Emirates.

The award is being established by Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, a global faith-based coalition. It will be presented to Ms Basu as part of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Accord, a video event on August 6, 8 and 9, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of the other commemorative events for the 75th anniversary is a World Future Council interactive art action outside the Euronext Stock exchange in Amsterdam. The action will highlight the nuclear weapons industry which is promoting the nuclear arms race, and will call for an end to investments in the industry.

READ MORE

 THE VOICES YOUTH AWARD 

 San Francisco, July 26, 2020| In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons- a United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circle made up of a consortium of the Charter for Compassion, Parliament of the World’s Religions, and Religions for Peace are pleased to announce a new annual Voices Youth Award. 

This award will be given in honor of Mikhail Gorbachev and George Shultz for their ground-breaking efforts to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons that started 35 years ago and ultimately resulted in the reduction in the number of nuclear weapons globally from ~70,000 to ~14,000 today. They recognized then that a nuclear war can never be won and should never be fought. The youth today are called upon to carry forward this mission to finish this work by completely abolishing nuclear weapons from the face of our earth. A youth organization or a young individual that successfully engages youth in this important effort will be honored each year as they carry-on the effort to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons. 

This year Voices has chosen Kehkashan Basu, the founder of the Green Hope Foundation for the 2020 Voices Youth Award. Ms. Basu, the winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, has been a lead voice for young people on the issue of nuclear abolition at both the 2018 Summit of the Parliament of Religions in Toronto and at the 2019 Accelerate Peace Conference at Stanford University. She is currently hosting on August 12, 2020 an international sustainability debate on "Nuclear Disarmament Is the Only Route to World Peace” with young people from Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Oman. Ms. Basu’s goal is to work with youth and a worldwide leadership team to rid the world of nuclear weapons. 

We want to recognize Ms. Basu for her efforts and congratulate her on the steps she has taken to educate and engage youth globally on the need to abolish nuclear weapons. 

Acton, James (2019). NC3 Systems and Strategic Stability: A Global Overview. Technology for Global Security.

 

In a conventional conflict between the United States and China or Russia, each belligerent might attack the other's command, control, communication, and intelligence (C3I) capabilities to gain a war-fighting advantage. However, because a number of C3I assets are dual-use, such attacks would degrade the target's nuclear command-and-control system, creating serious risks of inadvertent escalation. Looking forward, at least four factors will influence the severity of the risks created by such entanglement.

 

First, geopolitical developments will have indirect effects, including altering (for better or worse) the likelihood of war, Second, improvements in nonnuclear weapons, such as the development of long-range hypersonic gliders, could increase the threat posed to nuclear C3I capabilities. Moreover, because early-warning assets involved in nuclear operations might be able to track or nuclear doctrines could change, including by increasing or reducing the role accorded to attacks on C3I assets. Finally, unilateral or cooperative risk-mitigation measures could be implemented. Unilateral measures are the most promising under current political circumstances and could be as simple as raising awareness of the risks associated with entanglement within defense and military establishments.  Read more.

Asian Age (2020). India-Pakistan nuclear conflict may kill up to 125 million people: Study. Asian Age.

 

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could, in less than a week, kill 50-125 million people -- more than the death toll during all six years of World War II, and lead to global climate catastrophe, according to researchers in the US.

A study by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Rutgers University examined how such a hypothetical future conflict would have consequences that could ripple across the globe. Read more.

Baum, Seth, Robert de Neufville and Anthony Barrett (2018). A Model for the Probability of Nuclear War. SSRN.

 

The probability of nuclear war is a major factor in many important policy questions, but it has gotten little scholarly attention. This paper presents a model for calculating the total probability of nuclear war. The model is based on 14 interrelated scenarios for how nuclear war can break out, covering perhaps the entire range of nuclear war scenarios. Scenarios vary based on factors including whether a state intends to make a first strike attack, whether the nuclear attack is preceded by a conventional war or a non-war crisis, whether escalation is intentional or inadvertent, the presence of false alarms of various types, and the presence of non-war nuclear detonations such as nuclear terrorism.

 

As a first step towards quantifying the probability of nuclear war using the model, the paper also includes a dataset of historical incidents that might have threatened to turn into nuclear war. 60 historical incidents are included, making it perhaps the largest such dataset currently available. The paper also includes background information about probabilistic analysis and modeling to help readers understand how to think about the probability of nuclear war, including new theory for the decision to initiate nuclear war.  Read more.
 

Cotta-Ramusino, Paolo (2009). Next Steps to Universal Nuclear Disarmament: The Control of Nuclear Weapons So Far. UN Chronicles, Vol. 46, No. 1-2.

 

We know that the probability of having a catastrophic event depends on the number of critical events: the higher the number, the higher the probability. In our case, the probability of a nuclear conflict depends clearly on the number of crises which could possibly induce a nuclear war and on the number of technical failures of the nuclear control systems. These numbers in turn depend on the number of existing nuclear arsenals, on the number of nuclear weapons in those arsenals, and on the number of people who have access to the nuclear button.

Davenport, Kelsey (2019). Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance. Arms Control Association.

 

At the dawn of the nuclear age, the United States hoped to maintain a monopoly on its new weapon, but the secrets and the technology for making nuclear weapons soon spread. The United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Just four years later, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test explosion. The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed. Seeking to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other like-minded states negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996. Read more.

Fisk, Robert (2019). The scorched corpses of Nagasaki should be a grim restraint to the chest beating in India, America and Iran. Independent.

 

We like our anniversaries in blocks of 50 or 100 – at a push we’ll tolerate a 25. The 100th anniversary of the Somme (2016), the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (2015). Next year, we’ll remember the end of the Second World War, the first – and so far the only – nuclear war in history.

This week marks only the 74th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It doesn’t fit in to our journalistic scorecards and “timelines”. Over the past few days, I’ve had to look hard to find a headline about the two Japanese cities.  Read more.

Foody, Kathleen (2016). Jimmy Carter: World at “turning point,” must commit to peace. AP News.

 

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said Monday that the world is at a “turning point in history” and governments must choose policies of peace and human rights over war and human suffering. Carter’s remarks opened a forum of human rights workers hosted by The Carter Center in Atlanta, attended by more than 60 global activists.

Carter, 91, said military actions, human rights violations and restrictions on freedom have inspired the spread of violent extremist groups. He said even the peace-focused mission of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights adopted by the UN in 1948 “have been abandoned by the world.”

“What is needed now, more than ever, is leadership that steers us away from fear and fosters greater confidence in the inherent goodness and ingenuity of humanity,” Carter said. Read more. 

Francis, H.H. (2019). Peace Without Borders.  Sant’ Egidio Incontri Internazionali di Preghiera Per La Pace.

 

Unfortunately, over the first two decades of the XXI century, we have witnessed, with great sadness, the waste of the gift of God that is the peace, which has been dissipated by new wars and by new walls and barriers being raised. After all, we are very aware peace must continuously grow from generation to generation: through dialogue, encounter, and the negotiation. If one seeks for the good of peoples and the world, it is then illogical to bind the space, to divide peoples, or, even worse, to fight each other, to deny hospitality to those in need. This way the world “falls apart”, by using the same violence with which we spoil the environment and damage our common house, which, instead, needs love, care, respect, as much as humanity calls for peace and brotherhood.

 

The common house does not bear walls separating and creating conflicts amongst its inhabitants. Rather it needs open doors facilitating the communication, the encounter, the cooperation to live together in peace, while respecting the differences and strengthening the bonds of responsibility. Peace is like a house with many rooms where we all are called to live in. Peace has no borders. Always, without exception. This was the longing of Saint John XXIII who, in a difficult time, decided to address all believers and people of goodwill by invoking “peace in all landhen Pope Francis visited the United Arab Emirates last February, he not only became the first pontiff to step foot on the Arabian Peninsula, but he also stood next to the leading religious figure in Sunni Islam and signed a landmark document pledging all believers to work together for the good of all and against religious extremism.  Read the full document.

Future of Life Institute (2019). The Risk of Nuclear Weapons. Future of Life Institute.

 

Despite the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, humanity still has over 14,400 nuclear weapons. Some of these are hundreds of times more powerful than those that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and they may be able to create a decade-long nuclear winter that could kill most people on Earth. Yet the superpowers plan to invest over a trillion dollars upgrading their nuclear arsenals, which many experts believe increases the risk of nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism, and accidental nuclear war. Read more.

Gibson, David (2019). A church, a synagogue and a mosque planned together for the Arabian Peninsula. Religion News Service.

When Pope Francis visited the United Arab Emirates last February, he not only became the first pontiff to step foot on the Arabian Peninsula, but he also stood next to the leading religious figure in Sunni Islam and signed a landmark document pledging all believers to work together for the good of all and against religious extremism.

“Now the impossible has been accomplished!” Francis told Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, in an aside heard by a few close aides.

That appears to have been an optimistic take, given the river of unsettling news from the Middle East and around the world since then: rumors of war, fears of climate apocalypse, resurgent nationalism — all of it seemingly exacerbated by religious divisions. Read more.

Global Security Institute (2019). Gorbachev Message to Fellow Nobel Laureates at Meridá Summit. Global Security Institute.

I suggest that the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates adopt a statement calling upon all leaders of nuclear-weapon powers to reaffirm without delay the proposition that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. This principle, contained in the Joint Statement that U.S. President Ronald Reagan and I issued in Geneva in 1985, set in motion a process that has resulted in the destruction of thousands of nuclear weapons. Yet, what still remains today is enough to destroy human civilization. Therefore the world leaders’ responsibility to mankind and to every human being requires that they reaffirm the inadmissibility of nuclear war and return to the negotiating table to agree on reducing and eliminating the nuclear arsenals. Read the full letter.

Gomes, Robin (2020).  Pope urges the world not to be indifferent to humanity’s woes. Vatican News.

Pope Francis also denounces the arms race and nuclear rearmament saying, they “also cry out for vengeance before God”.  “The use as well as possession of nuclear weapons”, he says, “is also immoral, adding “even the mere danger of an accident represents a grim threat to humanity”.

The Holy Father urges that the world not be indifferent to the many wars that continue to be fought and which kill so many innocent people. Read more.

Granoff, Jonathan (2009). The Process of Zero. World Policy Journal.

History never stands still.The existence of nuclear weapons amplifies our responsibility to determine its direction. As the first  generation burdened with the conscious choice of whether to be the last,our decisions must be coherent, practical, and clear. There is no margin of  error when dealing with devices with destructive magnitudes that overwhelm imagination. Most post–Cold War analysis focuses on the dangers of untrustworthy states or sub-state actors, such as terrorists, acquiring nuclear weapons. Certainly these are unacceptable risks. Yet it is also the existential reality of the weapons themselves coupled with the probabilities of human, computer, or mechanical error that continually keeps humanity’s future uncertain. Read more.

Herlinger, Chris (2019). Nuclear weapons are not being eliminated any time soon. National Catholic Reporter.

"The only sure way to eliminate the threat posed by nuclear weapons is to eliminate the weapons themselves," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a U.N. backgrounder on the topic.

But in a world caught up in the noise of other issues — trade, political squabbles, the constant blur of social media — and with the United Nations itself conceding that its members are frustrated by the slow pace of nuclear disarmament, does the issue of nuclear disbarment have any traction?

Sr. Stacy Hanrahan, who represents the ‎Congregation of Notre Dame at the United Nations and consistently follows and champions the issue, believes it does. But it requires a long view, she says. Read more.

Kaspersen, Anja (2019). Disarmament and You(th). United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs--Geneva.

Arms control and disarmament are essential for peace and security. This can help countries to focus more on socioeconomic development, human well-being and prosperity. Weapons, also called arms, bring a lot of pain and sorrow. Weapons can be a source of international tension between countries, mistrust and instability. Excessive stockpiling of arms can both cause and prolong war. Poorly regulated weapons in wars kill thousands of civilians annually, including many children. The explosive remnants of these weapons continue to cause harm long after the armed conflict has ended. They can harm a country’s post-conflict recovery and prevent return to a normal life. They may make roads and land inaccessible and their very presence is a source of dread for local populations.

 

For over a century the international community has worked to minimize the effects of war. For instance, efforts have been made to address the adverse impact of weapons by limiting or banning the use of some of them and by protecting vulnerable groups and civilians from the scourge of war. On several occasions this determination has brought results: some very dangerous weapons have been outlawed and the use of some others has been strictly regulated. But more needs to be done. The advancement of digital technologies holds great promise, but if not developed and applied in a responsible manner, also poses untenable risks and challenges to international security and stability. Read more.

Ki-Moon, Ban and Mary Robinson, Jerry Brown and William J. Perry (2020). Why the World Is Closer Than Ever to Doomsday. CNN Opinion.

On Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which takes stock of the threats posed by nuclear war and climate change each year, moved the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight. We are now measuring how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds -- not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been since the clock was created in 1947.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which was founded by those who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and now includes 13 Nobel Laureates on the board, issued a statement on Thursday that read, "Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society's ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode." Read more.

Kodama, Katsuya (2010). The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Process: Drawing a Road Map to the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Social Alternatives, Vol. 29, No. 1.

This article reviews the framework of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Process towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. It shows how there has been a trend toward increased participation of civil society in the historical record of moves towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. This is a welcome development in the face of inaction by governments over recent decades. However support for the abolition of nuclear weapons by Barak Obama has revived international political trends in support for a world free of these most destructive weapons. Given the experience of the cities that experienced nuclear bombs, it is appropriate that the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Process is leading the way towards the achievement of the dream of a world without nuclear weapons.

Korda, Matt (2019). We need a Green New Deal for nuclear weapons. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Last week, the top 10 Democratic presidential candidates participated in a seven-hour climate town hall, during which they shared their plans to ban fracking, halt fossil fuel exports, and nationalize energy production—ideas that were considered fringe until recently. Just seeing the words “Climate Crisis” emblazoned on the CNN town-hall stage was a clear demonstration of how far the public discourse has shifted.

The conversation revolved around the Green New Deal and the Sunrise Movement, a self-described “army of young people” that has organized viral actions like the November 2018 protest with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at Nancy Pelosi’s office, and the June 2019 sit-in on the steps of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The movement received some hefty praise at the town hall from the presidential candidates, many of whom specifically noted that the event would never have happened without constant activist pressure. Read more.

Korda, Matt (2019). When Talking About the Climate Crisis, We Can’t Forget About Nuclear Weapons.  The Nation.

In the weeks leading up to the October Democratic debate, the climate crisis has finally taken over the political conversation. In mid-September, Greta Thunberg put world leaders on blast at the United Nations General Assembly, eloquently telling them, “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.” For a discourse that’s been polluted by skepticism, gaslighting, and endless incrementalism, Greta’s speech was a breath of fresh air.  Read more.

Myer, Paul (2019). Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament: Striding Forward or Stepping Back? Arms Control Association.

Few would contest that the regime built on the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is currently going through a rough patch, to put it mildly. Long-simmering frustrations with the lack of progress in fulfilling the treaty’s Article VI commitment on nuclear disarmament erupted in recent years in the form of a broadly based humanitarian initiative leading to the 2017 conclusion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


The new treaty has posed a major challenge to the status quo. Backed by 122 states at the time of its adoption, the treaty has now garnered 70 signatures and 22 ratifications, with 50 ratifications needed for the pact to enter into force. Some nuclear powers, particularly the United States, have begun new initiatives to try to maintain their control over the direction of NPT activity.  Read more.

Pulella, Philip (2019). Pope urges abolition of nuclear weapons at Japan's ground zeros.  Reuters World News.

Pope Francis brought his campaign to abolish nuclear weapons to the only two cities ever hit by atomic bombs on Sunday, calling their possession indefensibly perverse and immoral and their use a crime against mankind and nature...“Here, in an incandescent burst of lightning and fire, so many men and women, so many dreams and hopes, disappeared, leaving behind only shadows and silence,” Francis said at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial after standing in silent prayer and listening to a harrowing account by a survivor.  Read more.

Reddy, Amulya K.N.  (not available). The Immorality of Nuclear Weapons. Los Alamos Study Group.

Nuclear weapons are not just another class of weapons in the long history of development of weapons. Nuclear weapons are unique - their impact is primarily on innocent civilian non-combatants, particularly women and children; their radiation effects persist for generations after their detonation; they are intrinsically indiscriminate, largely uncontrollable, and above all, they are instruments of mass murder on a scale unparalleled in human history. This uniqueness of nuclear weapons is now clearly affirmed in an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice rendered in the month of July 1996.

 

Nuclear weapons have security, political and economic implications. In the ultimate analysis, however, the issue of nuclear weapons is a moral question. It is a question of right and wrong, good and evil, ethics. It is this ethical aspect of nuclear weapons, especially as it applies to the designing and manufacture of nuclear weapons, that will be focussed on here.

 

The only actual use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations during a war were by the US in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The mentality that went behind ordering and executing the bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot really be understood outside of the context of the large-scale violence of World War II. Apart from the sheer magnitude of the numbers of casualties sustained during the entire war, two other important thresholds were crossed during the war.

 

The first was the fire bombing carried out by the Allies of cities like Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo. These resulted in an unprecedented scale of destruction and were the first really major attacks against civilian populations during the war.


The second, and perhaps equally important, was the Holocaust. Read more.

Religions for Peace (2019). Religions for Peace Calls for Global Solidarity for the Dignity of All People. Religions for Peace.

The human dignity we share calls on us to grieve with those affected by any ideology of hate or prejudice, and any act of violence. Religions for Peace (RfP) continues its five decades of work for a world where such ideologies and attacks are unthinkable and where all institutions and people of faith and of no faith, can come together to live with mercy, compassion and love, and to stand in solidarity against any word, thought or act of hate against anyone. Read the full statement.

Robock, Alan and Owen Brian Toon (2012). Self-assured destruction:The climate impacts of nuclear war.  SAGE.

A nuclear war between Russia and the United States, even after the arsenal reductions planned under New START, could produce a nuclear winter. Hence, an attack by either side could be suicidal, resulting in self-assured destruction. Even a small nuclear war between India and Pakistan, with each country detonating 50 Hiroshima-size atom bombs--only about 0.03 percent of the global nuclear arsenal’s explosive power as airbursts in urban areas, could produce so much smoke that temperatures would fall below those of the Little Ice Age of the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries, shortening the growing season around the world and threatening the global food supply.

 

Furthermore, there would be massive ozone depletion, allowing more ultraviolet radiation to reach Earth’s surface. Recent studies predict that agricultural production in parts of the United States and China would decline by about 20 percent for four years, and by 10 percent for a decade. The environmental threat posed by even a small number of nuclear weapons must be considered in nuclear policy deliberations. Military planners now treat the environmental effects as collateral damage, and treaties currently consider only the number of weapons needed to assure destruction of opposing forces. Instead, treaties must call for further reductions in weapons so that the collateral effects do not threaten the continued survival of the bulk of humanity. Proliferation cannot be treated as a regional problem. A regional conflict has the potential to cause mass starvation worldwide through environmental effects. Read more. 

Robock, Alan and Owen Brian Toon (2009). Local Nuclear War. Scientific American, Inc.

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 on cities and industrial areas—only 0.4 percent of the world’s more than 25,000 warheads—would produce enough smoke to cripple global agriculture. A regional war could cause widespread loss of life even in countries far away from the conflict. Read more. 

Robock, A., L. Oman, and G. L. Stenchikov (2007). Nuclear winter revisited with a modern climate model and current nuclear arsenals: Still catastrophic consequences. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 112, D13107.

Twenty years ago, the results of climate model simulations of the response to smoke and dust from a massive nuclear exchange between the superpowers could be summarized as ‘‘nuclear winter,’’ with rapid temperature, precipitation, and insolation drops at the surface that would threaten global agriculture for at least a year. The global nuclear arsenal has fallen by a factor of three since then, but there has been an expansion of the number of nuclear weapons states, with additional states trying to develop nuclear arsenals. We use a modern climate model to reexamine the climate response to a range of nuclear wars,producing 50 and 150 Tg of smoke, using moderate and large portions of the current global arsenal, and find that there would be significant climatic responses to all the scenarios.

 

This is the first time that an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model has been used for such a simulation and the first time that 10-year simulations have been conducted. The response to the 150 Tg scenario can still be characterized as ‘‘nuclear winter,’’ but both produce global catastrophic consequences. The changes are more long-lasting than previously thought, however, because the new model, NationalAeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE, is able to represent the atmosphere up to 80 km, and simulates plume rise to the middle and upper stratosphere, producing a long aerosol lifetime. The indirect effects of nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences for the planet, and continued nuclear arsenal reductions will be needed before the threat of nuclear winter is removed from the Earth. Read more

Swing, William E. (2019). Clarifying Where “We” Stand: Stumbling into a Spiritual Strategy to Combat Nuclear Weapons. The Interfaith Observer.

Starting in 1983, I have done what I could to respond to the existence and threat of nuclear weapons. Read books and relevant news, watched movies and TV documentaries, written articles, given speeches, and met with proponents and opponents of nuclear matters. Finally, in 2007, I decided to try a new tactic. I asked friends of mine who are experts in this field – former Secretary of State George Shultz, physicist Sidney Drell, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and eight others – to join with me in meeting on the phone (later through Zoom technology) once a month to discover new ways of advancing nuclear abolition. Read more.

Taylor, Betsey (2018). Nuclear Weapons Pose the Ultimate Threat to Mankind. The Nation.

Ever since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the peace movement has seemed moribund. But in the wake of the US–North Korean summit, there are glimmers of hope that something new is stirring, with a focus on the ultimate threat to humankind: the use of nuclear weapons.  

 

This new momentum has been sparked by some of the dark times of the past 17 months. In January 2018, citing growing nuclear risks and unchecked climate dangers, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set its iconic Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, the nearest to the symbolic point of annihilation that the clock has been since 1953, at the height of the Cold War. The world seems off its axis as new political forces have rekindled old animosities between nuclear rivals. The president’s disastrous decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has led to new dangers in the Middle East. Trump’s choice of John Bolton as national-security adviser jeopardizes the prospect for enduring peace with North Korea; Bolton was one of the most rabid proponents for the invasion of Iraq and has pushed for regime change in North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

 

Meanwhile, the nuclear-armed states are undertaking new weapons programs, and the possibility of stumbling into a calamitous war with North Korea and/or Iran has never been more real. There are nine nuclear-armed states with a combined arsenal of around 15,000 nuclear weapons. Another 59 countries possess nuclear materials and the capacity to create their own weapons programs. Even a small regional nuclear conflict could inflict catastrophic global damage. The probability of lost or stolen nuclear material, the accidental use of nuclear weapons (or terrorists acquiring them), and the threat of full-scale nuclear war all rise each time a new country decides to make weapons-grade nuclear materials. Read more.

Union of Concerned Scientists (2019). Three Heads Are Better Than One. Union of Concerned Scientists.

In the United States, the president has sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. The assumption has always been that, given the monumental impor-tance of this decision, the president would consult with advisers before ordering an attack; however, there is no requirement for him or her to do so. This arrange-ment is risky, allowing a reckless or impulsive president to issue an order that has profound consequences, not only for the target of such an attack but for all Ameri-cans. Once the president orders the launch of land- or submarine-based missiles, there is no going back. Those missiles cannot be recalled or made to self-destruct; once launched, they will proceed to their targets.  Read more.

United Nations (2019). Youth, disarmament and non-proliferation. United Nations Basel General Assembly.

The General Assembly, Recognizing that young people in all countries are key agents for social change, economic development and technological innovation,


Reaffirming the important and positive contribution that young people can make to the promotion and attainment of sustainable peace and security, Noting that engagement with young people can provide opportunities to benefit from their views, insights and ideas…. .Read more

United Religions Initiative (2019). Two Hiroshima Survivor Trees Planted in Japanese Tea Garden. United Religions Initiative.

Two second-generation saplings—descendants of ginkgo trees that survived the nuclear blast on Hiroshima—were planted at the Japanese Tea Garden today in a ceremony that also honored former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Dame Charlotte Mailliard Shultz for their advocacy around nuclear disarmament. 

URI (United Religions Initiative), a global grassroots interfaith organization, held the ceremonial planting in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Day for Peace (Sept. 21) and its International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sept. 26). Read more.

Ware, Alyn and RFP Disarmament Committee (2013).  RESOURCE GUIDE ON nuclear disarmament FOR RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND COMMUNITIES. Religions for Peace.

In the 1980s, the threat posed by nuclear weapons was at the top of the global agenda. The two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, were amassing stock-piles of nuclear weapons, developing missiles that could rain devastation on each other’s countries and on the ter-ritories of allies within half an hour. Religious and faith-based communities were seized of the issue. Were nuclear weapons needed to deter war between the superpowers, or were they an affront to humanity and civilization itself ?With the end of the Cold War at the end of the 20th cen-tury, and the rise of new threats to humanity in the 21stcentury—especially climate change and resource deple-tion—the nuclear threat has been largely forgotten. Read more

Wellerstein, Alex (2012). NUKEMAP. Stevens Institute of Technology.

NUKEMAP is an interactive map using Mapbox API and declassified nuclear weapons effects data, created by Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology who studies the history of nuclear weapons. The initial version was created in February 2012, with major upgrades in July 2013, which enables users to model the explosion of nuclear weapons (contemporary, historical, or of any given arbitrary yield) on virtually any terrain and at virtually any altitude of their choice. A variation of the script, NUKEMAP3D, featured rough models of mushroom clouds in 3D, scaled to their appropriate sizes.  Access Nuke map.

Young, Stephen (2019). No-First-Use’ Bills Introduced Today Would Strengthen US Security, Lessen Risk of Nuclear War. Union of Concerned Scientists.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today introduced identical bills in the Senate and House requiring the United States to pledge that it would not be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon, regardless of the circumstances.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), adopting such a policy would reduce the risk of miscalculation during a crisis with Russia, China or North Korea; strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by demonstrating the United States is serious about reducing the role of nuclear weapons in its security policy; and reduce to risks associated with the president’s sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons by removing the option of using them first. Read more.

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