Wednesday August 10, 2022

Eliminate them

September 30, 2019

“Nuclear weapons present an unacceptable danger to humanity. The only real way to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons is to eliminate nuclear weapons.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres

September 28 is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Recognizing the growing concerns over the catastrophic humanitarian effects of even a single nuclear weapon and the findings of the “Nuclear Famine” scientific studies, the UN General Assembly declared the International Day in 2013 as part of a series of efforts to raise public awareness and to seek deeper engagement on nuclear disarmament matters.

The opening theme of the UN this year starting with the International Day of Peace is “Climate Action for Peace.” There is significant hope this year as people around the world are mobilizing and demanding action by their governments on the two interconnected existential threats facing our world, nuclear war and climate change. This past week’s international youth climate actions have drawn attention to their demands for action by world leaders.

The climate crisis also increases the risk of nuclear war. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, stands at 2 minutes to midnight, where midnight represents nuclear apocalypse, the closest since 1947. This is mainly due to three factors: 1) unstable political leadership in the nuclear states; 2) increased risk of accidental nuclear detonation or cyberterrorism due to the vulnerability of the high and growing reliance on automated systems; and 3) climate change.

Climate change multiplies the potential for conflict over scarce resources such as land, drinking water and food reserves, increasing the pressure to migrate. Political collapse, in turn, leads to extremist leaders gaining control over nuclear weapons, which poses a risk in vulnerable regions around the world where there already is political tension. This is being seen in the war in Syria which many call the first climate war, bringing the US and Russia, the two largest nuclear countries into direct conflict more than any time in history.

As the nuclear nations of the world continue to threaten our future, they are losing their leadership voice. They continue with their addiction to fossil fuels and nuclear weapons as a means of maintaining these co-dependencies. The world’s voice of reason is shifting to the non-nuclear nations which have made the connection between the environment and nuclear war demonstrating a comprehension and determination to rid the world of nuclear weapons through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Excerpted from: ‘Hope and necessity this International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons’.