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Doctors Warn Of Climate Havoc and Global Famine

International conference in London

3 October 2007 Even a limited, regional nuclear war, such as an exchange between India and Pakistan, would cause world wide climate disruption and lead to global famine. This was one outcome of the international conference "Nuclear Weapons: The Final Pandemic-Preventing Proliferation and Achieving Abolition" of IPPNW in partnership with the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr Helfand and Professor Alan Robock and Dr Owen Toon, demonstrated that debris ejected into the atmosphere from the nuclear explosions and subsequent fires would cause sudden global cooling and decreased precipitation for up to 10 years. Shorter growing seasons with significantly lower production would result in harvest failure in many grain producing areas.

"An Assessment of the Extent of Projected Global Famine Resulting from Limited, Regional Nuclear War" by Dr Ira Helfand, an emergency medicine specialist from Massachusetts, projects "a total global death toll in the range of one billion from starvation alone."

Dr Helfand and Professor Alan Robock and Dr Owen Toon, demonstrated that debris ejected into the atmosphere from the nuclear explosions and subsequent fires would cause sudden global cooling and decreased precipitation for up to 10 years. Shorter growing seasons with significantly lower production would result in harvest failure in many grain producing areas.

"We are ill-prepared to deal with a major fall in world food supply," says Dr Helfand. "Global grain stocks stand at 49 days, lower than at any point in the past five decades. These stocks would not provide any significant reserve in the event of a sharp decline in production. We would see hoarding on a global scale."

Professor Alan Robock, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Rutgers University, presented a paper showing that even a low - yield detonation would produce enough smoke to induce significant climatic alteration on a global scale.

A paper from Dr Owen B Toon, from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, concentrated on the large global ozone losses which would follow a regional war. "If targeted at small cities, low yield weapons can produce 100 times as many fatalities and 100 times as much smoke from fires as was previously estimated for full scale nuclear wars using high-yield weapons." Toon argues that the resulting global ozone losses will threaten humans and the biota throughout the world and not just in the region of conflict.

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