The cost of nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons are the only devices ever created that have the capacity to destroy all complex life forms on Earth. It would take less than 0.1% of the explosive yield of the current global nuclear arsenal to bring about devastating agricultural collapse and widespread famine. The smoke and dust from fewer than 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear explosions would cause an abrupt drop in global temperatures and rainfall.
“Climate change may be the global policy issue that has captured most attention in the last decade, but the problem of nuclear weapons is at least its equal in terms of gravity – and much more immediate in its potential impact.” – International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, 2009
Nuclear weapons programmes divert public funds from health care, education, disaster relief and other vital services. The nine nuclear-armed nations spend many tens of billions of dollars each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Funding allocated to disarmament efforts is minuscule by comparison. It is time to redirect money towards meeting human needs.