On January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force with 69 state parties. The treaty aims to ban nuclear weapons, bringing global nuclear weapons arsenals down to zero. Treaty states, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and other global zero activists that pushed for the treaty frequently highlight the existential harms from nuclear weapons, including in the second meeting of state parties to the treaty. The concern is legitimate. A 2022 study in Nature estimated a nuclear war between the United States and Russia would blast massive amounts of soot into the atmosphere, disrupting the global climate, and causing massive food shortages that could kill over five billion people.
This article was written by Zachary Kallenborn and originally published by The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists.
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