Tensions between the United States and Russia continue to mount as the war in Ukraine approaches its sixth month, and some observers argue that since the Cold War, relations between Washington and Moscow have not been so bad.
Although the scenario of a nuclear war is very unlikely, it is still possible, as the two countries hold about 90% of the total number of nuclear weapons in the world, and Moscow has already repeatedly threatened Western states with atomic bombs, accusing themselves of using the war in Ukraine to threaten Russia.
A study published this week in the journal ‘Nature’ analyzed various scenarios of nuclear war, from one that generates minor impacts on a global level to the most extreme, in which the world will be thrown into a nuclear winter and in which five billion people will die. due to lack of food. This scenario contemplates a nuclear conflict between the US and its allies and Russia.
Scientists indicate that, in the event of a nuclear conflict, the soot generated by the detonations would contaminate the soils and waterways and that it would be disseminated at a planetary level when these particles reached the uppermost layers of our atmosphere, spreading the impacts to all countries. of war.
The particles would also lead to a nuclear winter, in which global temperatures would plummet, severely damaging agricultural activity and jeopardizing the food security of human populations. Furthermore, the war would also lead to profound disruptions in international trade, intensifying food insecurity and the risk of malnutrition and famine.
The researchers conclude that in the worst-case scenario where 150 million tons of soot are generated by the detonation of nuclear bombs, the countries of the world will not be affected in the same way. The models used in this study predict that the UK population would have a 90% chance of dying of starvation, but point out that Australia and New Zealand can be “ports of refuge” for the surviving population.
According to experts, these two countries, as well as some countries in central Africa, will be able to maintain access to sources of agricultural foodstuffs, as they are the ones that already cultivate crops that would better resist the effects of the nuclear winter. And the secret will be in the wheat.
In a scenario where international trade ceases to exist, “wheat contributes to almost 50% of the calorie intake in Australia”, the study advances, which, in the event of a nuclear war, will be vital for feeding the Australian population, as their production of that cereal would be less affected than in other countries. Another “sanctuary” would be New Zealand, which “would experience lesser impacts than other countries”.
However, the scientists warn: that these two states in the southern hemisphere “would likely see an influx of refugees from Asia and other countries facing food insecurity”. So, in the worst-case scenario, Australia and New Zealand will emerge as the best places to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, with thousands of people trying to reach the shores of these two countries.
Alan Robock, one of the authors of the study, points out that, in the event of nuclear winter, Australia and New Zealand “would have sufficient domestic production capacity”, “but we can imagine that there would be flotillas of hungry refugees from Asia en route there”.
Crop losses would be most severe in mid-high latitude countries such as the United Kingdom, as well as in states heavily dependent on imports such as Africa and the Middle East.
Lili Xia, who also signs the study, says that “as long as nuclear weapons exist, they can be used, and the world has come close to nuclear war on several occasions”, and leaves an appeal: “Banking nuclear weapons is the only solution long-term”.
Source: With Agencies