Why Worry About Global Warming When There Will Be A Nuclear Winter

Nuclear Weapons Are Much More Dangerous Than Global Warming

2014-11-26-Hiroshima.jpg
Hiroshima after the nuclear attack. The buildings burned, producing smoke. Multiple attacks, with much larger current bombs, could produce devastating global cooling.

Posted: Updated:

Skeptical Science is a great website that debunks global warming deniers. But their home page has a box counting up the amount of energy trapped by greenhouse gases in units of Hiroshima atomic bomb energy. While strictly correct, in the sense that the amount of energy released by the horrendous, genocidal attack on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, the equivalent of the explosion of 15,000 tons of TNT, is the same as that accumulated at Earth’s surface every fourth of a second by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, I find that this trivializes the horror of nuclear war.

I am not writing this to criticize global warming theory. I have been doing climate research for 40 years, since Professor Edward Lorenz recommended the study of climate as a Ph.D. topic for me in 1974. In 1978 I published the first transient climate model simulation of the warming response to increasing CO2 (Internally and externally caused climate change. J. Atmos. Sci., 35, 1111-1122). And I often explain the problem in the 10 words of Yale’s Anthony Leiserowitz: “It’s real. It’s us. Scientists agree. It’s bad. There’s hope.” But we do not need to shock and mislead people with the effects of nuclear weapons to solve this problem.

Nuclear bombs do more than release thermal energy, and their potential impact on climate far outweighs anything else humans could do to our climate. The blast, fires, and radioactivity would kill millions of people if dropped on modern cities. The direct casualties from just three weapons of the size used on Hiroshima, exploding on U.S. cities would cause more casualties than the U.S. experienced in World War II. But the smoke from the fires would cause the largest impact on humans.

I described the climatic effects of nuclear war and the continuing nuclear winter problem in a previous Huffington Post blog. To summarize, the current Russian and American nuclear arsenals can still produce a nuclear winter, with temperatures plummeting below freezing in the summer, sentencing most of the world to famine and starvation. Even a war between two new nuclear powers, say India and Pakistan, could put a billion people could be at risk of starvation from the agricultural impacts of the smoke from the fires that could be generated.

Nuclear weapons are useless. They would never be used on purpose by the major powers, but could be used by accident. Some countries might use them in a moment of panic, or in response to imagined threats and insults, or in a fit of religious hysteria. The arsenals of nuclear weapons states set a bad example for the world, encouraging proliferation. And they could kill us all.

Now that President Obama is feeling freer to do the right thing, rather than spending hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize our nuclear arsenal, he can rapidly reduce it, to make the U.S and the world safer, and to save us money for much more productive uses.

The time is now to ban nuclear weapons so we have the luxury of worrying about global warming.

For more information on this topic, click here and watch my 18-minute TEDx talk, here.

Why Worry About Global Warming When There Will Be A Nuclear Winter

Nuclear Weapons Are Much More Dangerous Than Global Warming

2014-11-26-Hiroshima.jpg
Hiroshima after the nuclear attack. The buildings burned, producing smoke. Multiple attacks, with much larger current bombs, could produce devastating global cooling.

Posted: Updated:

Skeptical Science is a great website that debunks global warming deniers. But their home page has a box counting up the amount of energy trapped by greenhouse gases in units of Hiroshima atomic bomb energy. While strictly correct, in the sense that the amount of energy released by the horrendous, genocidal attack on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, the equivalent of the explosion of 15,000 tons of TNT, is the same as that accumulated at Earth’s surface every fourth of a second by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, I find that this trivializes the horror of nuclear war.

I am not writing this to criticize global warming theory. I have been doing climate research for 40 years, since Professor Edward Lorenz recommended the study of climate as a Ph.D. topic for me in 1974. In 1978 I published the first transient climate model simulation of the warming response to increasing CO2 (Internally and externally caused climate change. J. Atmos. Sci., 35, 1111-1122). And I often explain the problem in the 10 words of Yale’s Anthony Leiserowitz: “It’s real. It’s us. Scientists agree. It’s bad. There’s hope.” But we do not need to shock and mislead people with the effects of nuclear weapons to solve this problem.

Nuclear bombs do more than release thermal energy, and their potential impact on climate far outweighs anything else humans could do to our climate. The blast, fires, and radioactivity would kill millions of people if dropped on modern cities. The direct casualties from just three weapons of the size used on Hiroshima, exploding on U.S. cities would cause more casualties than the U.S. experienced in World War II. But the smoke from the fires would cause the largest impact on humans.

I described the climatic effects of nuclear war and the continuing nuclear winter problem in a previous Huffington Post blog. To summarize, the current Russian and American nuclear arsenals can still produce a nuclear winter, with temperatures plummeting below freezing in the summer, sentencing most of the world to famine and starvation. Even a war between two new nuclear powers, say India and Pakistan, could put a billion people could be at risk of starvation from the agricultural impacts of the smoke from the fires that could be generated.

Nuclear weapons are useless. They would never be used on purpose by the major powers, but could be used by accident. Some countries might use them in a moment of panic, or in response to imagined threats and insults, or in a fit of religious hysteria. The arsenals of nuclear weapons states set a bad example for the world, encouraging proliferation. And they could kill us all.

Now that President Obama is feeling freer to do the right thing, rather than spending hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize our nuclear arsenal, he can rapidly reduce it, to make the U.S and the world safer, and to save us money for much more productive uses.

The time is now to ban nuclear weapons so we have the luxury of worrying about global warming.

For more information on this topic, click here and watch my 18-minute TEDx talk, here.

Iran Nuclear Deal Causing Global Strife


Israeli PM Says Arab Leaders Also Weary of Iran Nuclear Deal

By IAN DEITCH

Jun 9, 2015, 3:27 PM

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister said Tuesday that Arab leaders agree with him that an emerging nuclear deal with Iran won’t stop Tehran from getting atomic weapons.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks come as Tehran and the six world powers negotiating with Iran face a June 30 target date for a comprehensive deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions’ relief.

Netanyahu told the prestigious Herzliya conference, an annual gathering that draws speakers from around the world, that he is not the only voice in the Middle East against the deal.

“I am often portrayed as the nuclear party pooper,” Netanyahu said. “But I speak with quite a few of our neighbors, more than you think, and I want to tell you that nobody in this region believes this deal will block Iran’s path to the bomb.”

Most of the region does not have official ties with Israel and Netanyahu did not name the leaders he spoke with or the circumstances of the discussions. He spoke in Herzliya, in central Israel, just days after a close confidant, Dore Gold, met publicly with a Saudi Arabian general to discuss Iran.

“It’s worth noting that nobody from this region except Iran is at the negotiating table,” Netanyahu added.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes but Israel fears it could still allow Tehran to build nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu also warned the deal would spark a nuclear arms race that will see the region “crisscrossed with nuclear trip wires as other states nuclearize” in fear of Iran. He said lifting the sanctions rewards Iran with “prosperity at home” while allowing it to continue “aggression abroad.”

Israel has long claimed a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten world peace and security, and views a nuclear-armed Tehran as a threat to its very existence, citing Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s destruction, its long-range missile program and its support for militant groups like Lebanese Hezbollah or the Palestinian Hamas.

There was no immediate comment from Arab states on Netanyahu’s remarks.

This Probably Won’t Help The Iran Deal (Dan 8)

US Navy to accompany US-flagged ships in Persian Gulf after Iran seizes vessel

Published April 30, 2015
FoxNews.com

U.S. Navy ships will begin to accompany U.S. flagged commercial ships as they travel the Strait of Hormuz, a defense official confirmed to Fox News, on the heels of Iran seizing a cargo ship.

The Obama administration is closely monitoring Iran’s takeover of the ship, as it involved a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. The Marshall Islands and the U.S. have a longstanding security agreement, and officials said Thursday the two nations are in contact.

But, in a clear response to that incident, a defense official said the U.S. Navy will now accompany all U.S.-flagged ships going through the area. The move is the latest development in a high-stakes chess match in the region, with the Iran nuclear talks continuing to play out in the background.

The Navy makes a distinction between accompanying ships and escorting them. Officials told the AP the Navy won’t technically escort these ships but will let them know in advance that they will monitor the situation as they transit the narrow Strait from the Persian Gulf toward the Arabian Sea.

The Navy already has dispatched a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Farragut, to the region. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday the destroyer is “keeping an eye on things,” and in close enough proximity to the seized ship that they “will be able to respond if a response is required.”

When pressed on what kind of incident aboard the ship would elicit a U.S. Navy response, he was vague, saying: “These [U.S. military] assets give commanders options.” He said he didn’t know “what the possibilities are,” and the U.S. government is “in discussions with the Marshall Islands on the way ahead.”

Earlier this week Iranian naval vessels reportedly fired warning shots near the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and detained it and its crew. Iranian officials say the Maersk shipping line owes it money.

Maersk Line, the Danish shipper that chartered the cargo vessel, acknowledged in a written statement that the reason for stopping the ship could be related to a 2005 cargo case.

Maersk Line spokesman Michael Storgaard said the company learned Thursday that an Iranian appeals court had ruled Maersk must pay $3.6 million for a 10-container cargo delivered a decade ago on behalf of an Iranian company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. However, the cargo never was collected, according to Storgaard, adding it eventually was disposed of by local authorities.

“As we do not have the details of the ruling, we are not able to comment hereon, nor at this point speculate on our options,” Maersk Line said of the latest ruling.

“Our paramount concern remains the safety of the crew and the safe release of the vessel. We will continue to do everything we can to resolve this matter with the relevant Iranian authorities.”

Storgaard told The Associated Press that the ship and crew aren’t theirs. MV Maersk Tigris, operated by Rickmers Ship Management in Singapore, was boarded on Tuesday.

Cors Radings, a spokesman for Rickmers, told Fox News that as of Thursday, there has been no change in the status of the ship and her crew, and that the company has not spoken with the crew in the past 24 hours.

The Marshall Islands — officially known as the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and a former U.S. trust — enjoy “associate state” status with the United States, meaning the U.S. agrees to defend the islands, and provide economic subsidies and access to federally funded social services. The U.S. initially gained military control of the Marshall Islands from Japan in 1944.

According to the State Department, “The security compact between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands gives the U.S. authority and responsibility for security and defense matters that relate to the Marshall Islands, including matters related to vessels flying the Marshallese flag.”

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iranian Horn Forces Issue In Gulf (Daniel 8:3)

iran.si

U.S. says Iranian forces fire on and board cargo ship in Gulf

(Reuters) – Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf on Tuesday after patrol boats fired warning shots across its bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters, the Pentagon said.

U.S. planes and a destroyer were monitoring the situation after the vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, made a distress call in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important oil shipping channels.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted an unidentified source who sought to play down the incident, saying it was a civil matter with no military or political dimension. But the Pentagon described it as an apparent provocation.

The incident came as the United States and five other global powers aim to secure a final nuclear deal with Iran by the end of June.

Under the accord Tehran, which denies seeking to build nuclear weapons, would win sanctions relief in return for slashing the number of its uranium enrichment centrifuges and accepting intrusive international inspections.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television earlier said an Iranian force fired on and seized a U.S. cargo ship with 34 U.S. sailors on board, and directed it to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. But the Pentagon spokesman said there were no U.S. citizens on board the ship.

The company managing the vessel told a Danish news channel there were 24 crew members, mostly from eastern Europe and Asia.

Reuters tracking data showed the Maersk Tigris, a 65,000-tonne container ship, off the Iranian coast between the islands of Qeshm and Hormuz. It had been listed as sailing from the Saudi port of Jeddah, bound for the United Arab Emirates port of Jebel Ali.

The Iranian Terrorist Horn (Daniel 8:3)

Iran-terrorists

Iran is the center for export of terrorism and fundamentalism to region

Iranian Hegemony Is Global (Dan 8)

 IRAN HAS SHIITE RADICALIZATION CENTERS IN 60 COUNTRIES: VIDEO

A new video produced by an Iranian opposition group documents how the Ayatollah’s regime in Tehran has proliferated its Khomeinist revolution into 60 countries, graduating 50,000 Mullahs at its Al Mustafa International University in the past seven years. Iranian-American Forum–which in the past has helped expose alleged pro-Tehran groups such as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)–produced the video, which shows how Iran has been exporting its violent ideology worldwide.

“Al Mustafa [University] was founded by the Iranian regime in 2007. The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei holds the highest authority in the University,” the video explains.

Al Mustafa has branches throughout the world, and trains “foreign Mullahs who then spread the Iranian regime’s ideology throughout the world,” says the video narrator. “Graduates of al-Mustafa are selected by the Iranian regime to direct religious and cultural centers in many countries. These centers recruit among local populations, thus, are part  of the Iranian regime’s influence” operations, the narrator adds.

The video then cuts to a speech that showed the Ayatollah welcoming non-Iranian students and foreign Mullahs to Al Mustafa’s main campus in Qom, Iran, where he encourages them to continue spreading Iran’s ideology throughout the world.

“Since the Islamic Republic was established in Iran in 1979, exporting the Islamic revolution has been a main pillar of this regime,” the narrator explains. “From the earliest years of the revolution, the regime began sending Iranian mullahs to other Islamic countries to propagate its fundamentalist revolutionary ideology. Later, foreign candidates were brought to Iran to be educated, then sent back to their native countries,” he adds.

In 2007, the Islamic Republic merged the fundamentalist organizations under the umbrella of Al Mustafa University, the video explains.

Al Mustafa now has branches all over the world, including much of the West. It even has a branch in London.

Moreover, there are at least 80 Iranian cultural centers throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, according to a recent U.S. Southern Command report.

The video concludes with a stark warning: “This vast network notably in Western countries could also provide the Iranian regime with an extraordinary tool to carry out terrorist activities.”

The Third Nuclear Horn Is A Global Threat (Daniel 8:8)

By

By Jai Kumar Verma

The fourth heavy water reactor at Khushab in Pakistan became functional in January 2015. The new heavy-water reactor would enhance the production of weapon-grade plutonium.

Pakistan considers India as its prime adversary and it apprehends that it cannot match India in conventional warfare hence it is increasing its nuclear capability faster than India, and presently Pakistan possesses more nuclear warheads than India.

Analysts say that by 2020 Pakistan will possess more than 200 nuclear warheads. Pakistan has neither signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) nor Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Pakistan initiated its nuclear weapons programme in 1972 after a humiliating defeat by India. Pakistan was isolated in the international arena and no country, including United States of America or Peoples Republic of China (PRC), helped Pakistan against India. Consequently, Pakistani authorities decided that the country has to inculcate capability indigenously against India, and therefore it developed nuclear warheads.

It detonated five nuclear devices in May 1998 in Ras Koh Hills in Balochistan a few weeks after India’s second nuclear test. The nuclear bomb of Pakistan can be delivered by aircraft, ships and missiles. Pakistan has declined to accept a “no first use” agreement with India.

The Khushab nuclear site, which is in a highly restricted area, is situated at Jauharabad in Khushab district. It is about 200 km from Islamabad. Pakistan does not provide any information about Khushab reactors. Khushab I became operational in 1998 and Khushab II started producing plutonium and tritium from 2010. Khushab III became fully operational in 2013. Khushab IV which appears to be different from other three reactors became operative from January 2015.

According to satellite imagery brief, Pakistan is building Khushab V where it would produce miniaturized plutonium based nuclear weapons.

The analysts feel that Pakistan had uranium-based warheads hence now it is developing plutonium-based warheads also. The Khushab Nuclear Complex and Kahuta nuclear plants are not subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. The plutonium programme of Pakistan is indigenous and developed by Pakistani scientists with Chinese assistance.

Pakistanis stress that the nuclear weapons are not only against India, but if any power including USA tries to hit its strategic assets Pakistan would not hesitate in using nuclear warheads.

India and Pakistan have signed three agreements on nuclear affairs which includes not to attack the other country’s nuclear facilities; informing each other on ballistic missile tests; and report to the other country in case of a nuclear accident in the country.

Besides creating nuclear warheads Pakistan has also developed second strike potential by constructing very strong and deeply buried storage and nuclear devices launch capability.

PRC is the foremost supplier of nuclear and missile technology, warhead designs, highly enriched uranium etc. It also assisted in development of nuclear infrastructure, including nuclear plants at Chashma Nuclear Power Plant (Chasnupp) in Punjab, K Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp) etc. A uranium centrifuge plant at Kahuta is operative since 1984 and in 1991 it was extended.

Pakistan has a big arsenal of nuclear weapons and the international community is worried about safety and security of Pakistani nuclear facilities and nuclear warheads. The analysts claim the Pakistani government may not misuse the nuclear weapons but the probability that terrorists may obtain it through dubious means cannot be ruled out.

In the past, Abdul Qader Khan, the mastermind of Pakistani nuclear bomb, secretly helped Iran, Libya and North Korea in their nuclear programme.

The US is worried because of increasing anti-American sentiments in Pakistan especially in the Pakistani Armed Forces. In the past there were several assaults on strategic establishments, including nuclear facilities. The US authorities are also not fully aware about the locations of all Pakistani nuclear establishments, hence protecting them is also quite difficult.

Pakistan claims that it is the only Muslim country which possesses nuclear warheads, therefore Jews, Western countries and India are involved in malicious propaganda that nuclear weapons are not safe in the country. Pakistan refused to accept Permissive Action Link (PAL) technology as Pakistani scientists apprehended that USA may put “dead switches” and Pakistan may not able to use these devices at the hour of need. However, Pakistan claims that it has developed PAL system indigenously and is using it in defending its nuclear warheads.

Pakistan has constituted a National Command Authority (NCA) which includes civil and military personnel and it will be responsible for safety and security of nuclear weapons. It also started a Personnel Reliability Programme (PRP) under which extremists/fundamentalists would not be employed in nuclear installations.

The US gave various equipment, including helicopters, night-vision devices and nuclear detection, apparatus to Pakistan to safeguard its nuclear installations, warheads and nuclear material. It is also reported in the media that US has trained a few commandos who would attack and seize the nuclear weapons from extremists if terrorists succeed in obtaining them.

Although Pakistan professes that it has an infallible security system and all the nuclear facilities, warheads and nuclear material are in safe hands, but facts contradict the claim. Fundamentalism is enhancing very rapidly in the country. Terrorists attacked military bases, including Minhas (Kamra) Air Force Base. Terrorists also attacked areas near Khushab and Gadwal nuclear plants.

Extremists also tried to kidnap officials working in nuclear facilities. The possibility, that terrorists could kidnap or allure some official working in the nuclear establishment and the rogue official supply nuclear material to terrorists, cannot be ruled out.

The Pakistani military, which controls nuclear facilities, has nurtured several terrorist groups. These terrorist outfits as well as several Pakistani military officers are so fanatical that they can go up to any extent to damage India, USA or Afghanistan. Terrorists, including Al Qaeda leaders, had showed interest in procuring Pakistani nuclear warheads.

The terrorists may have already penetrated nuclear installations or the Pakistani army, and once they need the nuclear material their planted stooges would smuggle it.

There are reports that Pakistan has abandoned the system of keeping nuclear warheads and launchers separately. Now short-range nuclear missiles are deployed near Indian borders where security measures are relaxed.

In the tactical deployment of nuclear warheads junior officers have the authority, which is also a very risky proposition. Pakistan has a history of military takeovers and turmoil and the chances that the terrorists capture some nuclear device in that chaos cannot be ruled out.

Pakistanis consider possession of nuclear warheads as a great honour and will not tolerate its dismantling, destruction or occupation by any external power. Pakistanis also consider nuclear weapons as a fool-proof defence against its foremost enemy India.

The danger of acquiring nuclear warheads by terrorists is real and its consequences would be appalling. Hence all the nuclear plants of Pakistan must come under jurisdiction of IAEA and Pakistan should sign NPT and CTBT immediately.

The international community is required to press Pakistan for signing the no-first-use agreement with India. China, US and other countries should chalk out a plan for the security of Pakistani nuclear weapons as well as for nuclear material. In the security system, the International community should also be involved. The postings in nuclear installations must be strictly checked and only Pakistani security officials should not be entrusted with this sensitive work. The international community should also chalk out an emergency plan that, in case terrorists are able to get hold of nuclear warheads, how they can be recaptured again before they are misused.

*Jai Kumar Verma is a Delhi-based strategic analyst. He can be contacted at contributions@spsindia.in

Babylon the Great: Our Fukushima Is Coming (Rev 15)

  • We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents… We present an overview of global risks… [These] risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter [Fukushima crisis began with 10 days left in winter].
  • The model setup was evaluated… using emission estimates from… Fukushima
  • The risk posed from nuclear power plant accidents is not limited to the national or even regional level, but can assume global dimensions. Many nations may be subjected to great exposure after severe accidents.
  • Our model shows increased surface-level concentrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the boreal winter months compared to the summer… Not only the expected risk magnitude is higher, but the geographical extent of the high concentrations of transported radionuclides is more pronounced towards the northHorizontal advection [i.e. transfer] is more efficient in winter due to relatively stronger winds, and the concentrations are highest near the surface [and] surface level concentrations in the summer tend to be more localized in the emission region.
  • Our results illustrate that accidents… could have significant trans-boundary consequences. The risk estimate [shows] increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east… This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface…It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents [for] emergency response planning on national and international levels.

JAMSTEC, Univ. of Tokyo, etc.: We show a numerical simulation for the long-range transport from the [Fukushima] plant to the US… Large-scale updraft [over] Japan from March 14 to 15 was found effective in lifting the particles [to the] jet stream that could carry the particles across the Pacific within 3 to 4 days [See study: On Mar. 15, Fukushima reactors emitted 100 quadrillion Bq of cesium into air — This one day was equal to total lifetime release from Chernobyl]… Some of the particles [had a] long-range atmospheric transport over — 10,000 km within 3 to 4 days… [R]adioactive materials were detected in that period over the east and west coasts of the U.S… In order for the particles to be transported with the jet stream, they must be lifted up from the surface boundary layer to the mid- or upper troposphere. Large-scale updraft was indeed observedon March 14 through 15[T]he westerlies in mid-March were thus particularly effective in the trans-Pacific transport of the radioactive materials…

Watch the numerical plume simulation here

Why Worry About Global Warming When There Will Be A Nuclear Winter

Nuclear Weapons Are Much More Dangerous Than Global Warming

2014-11-26-Hiroshima.jpg
Hiroshima after the nuclear attack. The buildings burned, producing smoke. Multiple attacks, with much larger current bombs, could produce devastating global cooling.

Posted: Updated:

Skeptical Science is a great website that debunks global warming deniers. But their home page has a box counting up the amount of energy trapped by greenhouse gases in units of Hiroshima atomic bomb energy. While strictly correct, in the sense that the amount of energy released by the horrendous, genocidal attack on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, the equivalent of the explosion of 15,000 tons of TNT, is the same as that accumulated at Earth’s surface every fourth of a second by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, I find that this trivializes the horror of nuclear war.

I am not writing this to criticize global warming theory. I have been doing climate research for 40 years, since Professor Edward Lorenz recommended the study of climate as a Ph.D. topic for me in 1974. In 1978 I published the first transient climate model simulation of the warming response to increasing CO2 (Internally and externally caused climate change. J. Atmos. Sci., 35, 1111-1122). And I often explain the problem in the 10 words of Yale’s Anthony Leiserowitz: “It’s real. It’s us. Scientists agree. It’s bad. There’s hope.” But we do not need to shock and mislead people with the effects of nuclear weapons to solve this problem.

Nuclear bombs do more than release thermal energy, and their potential impact on climate far outweighs anything else humans could do to our climate. The blast, fires, and radioactivity would kill millions of people if dropped on modern cities. The direct casualties from just three weapons of the size used on Hiroshima, exploding on U.S. cities would cause more casualties than the U.S. experienced in World War II. But the smoke from the fires would cause the largest impact on humans.

I described the climatic effects of nuclear war and the continuing nuclear winter problem in a previous Huffington Post blog. To summarize, the current Russian and American nuclear arsenals can still produce a nuclear winter, with temperatures plummeting below freezing in the summer, sentencing most of the world to famine and starvation. Even a war between two new nuclear powers, say India and Pakistan, could put a billion people could be at risk of starvation from the agricultural impacts of the smoke from the fires that could be generated.

Nuclear weapons are useless. They would never be used on purpose by the major powers, but could be used by accident. Some countries might use them in a moment of panic, or in response to imagined threats and insults, or in a fit of religious hysteria. The arsenals of nuclear weapons states set a bad example for the world, encouraging proliferation. And they could kill us all.

Now that President Obama is feeling freer to do the right thing, rather than spending hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize our nuclear arsenal, he can rapidly reduce it, to make the U.S and the world safer, and to save us money for much more productive uses.

The time is now to ban nuclear weapons so we have the luxury of worrying about global warming.

For more information on this topic, click here and watch my 18-minute TEDx talk, here.