It’s been just a few days since North Korea tested a ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. The U.S. reacted by conducting a missile defense test in the Pacific Ocean, adding to the escalating threats and provocations between North Korea and the US. Both sides need to cool it. Nuclear aftermath is not an option especially in light of a new report on potential consequences of a nuclear strike and the effects on global climate patterns. A team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published its report in the journal Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, expanding on previous nuclear war simulations where more than 5 million metric tons of black carbon particles would disperse into the stratosphere. According to the online publication New Atlas, “the simulations predict not so much the catastrophic “nuclear winter” that the 20th century Cold War panic taught us, but rather a more moderate “nuclear autumn” scenario.”
Nuclear autumn is almost as bad as nuclear winter, and a lot easier to spark. One big nuke could do it, or a couple of smaller ones. Sobering. Frightening. According to New Atlas, China’s most powerful nuclear weapon, a 5-megaton beast, could single-handedly send the world into “nuclear autumn” with just one detonation. China has 20 of these weapons.
The study forecasts that blasting 5 million metric tons of black carbon into the stratosphere would dramatically decrease global rainfall anywhere from 20 to 80 percent depending on the specific area. The life threatening domino effect would be on the earth’s total volume of agricultural production because the growing seasons would be reduced by between 10 and 40 days per year for up to five years, resulting in famine. This and other cataclysmic climate effects could kill up to a billion people, mainly in developing “food insecure” countries.
Diplomacy is the playing card here because there are no good military options. Tell the President, your Senators, and your Congressmen/women. Even one nuke could be catastrophic. The least bad option is to start talking again with North Korea. Chastizing China is not likely to help. Nor will bombers buzzing Pyongyang, nor holding more joint military exercises with South Korea. Trump should invite Kim to the White House, or offer to go to Pyongyang. Make a deal, President Dealmaker.