US-Russia nuclear war could kill 5 billion people

Nuclear explosions would distort the planet’s climate, causing a sudden drop in food supply. In the end, there would be hunger on a world scale.

A hypothetical nuclear conflict between the United States and Russia could be fatal for two-thirds of the world’s population. However, the study by Rutgers University in New Jersey suggests that the vast majority of deaths would result from widespread famine.

At a time marked by the war between Russia and Ukraine and tension in the Taiwan Strait, the research theorizes that nuclear detonations would be responsible for a stratospheric increase in soot released into the atmosphere, enough to block solar radiation.

Given the decrease in solar energy received, the planet would see a severe reduction in temperature – air and sea – and rainfall, for example. Consequently, global food production chains would collapse.

The study analyzed six distinct scenarios, including most nuclear-weapon countries. Even the ‘softest’ scenario, between India and Pakistan, could release five teragrams (equivalent to five billion kilograms) of soot and cause a 7% drop in world agricultural production. In the end, more than two billion people would be at risk of starvation.

However, the authors point out what would be the worst case possible. A confrontation between the United States and Russia would release 150 teragrams of soot, enough for, in the space of four years, the air temperature to drop 16ºC and the seas to cool 6ºC.

As they are two of the main food exporting countries, the consequences would be catastrophic for the world market. In just two years, animal production on a global scale could fall by up to 81%. Within three years, available fish would reduce by almost 40%, while agricultural production would register the worst case scenario: a 90% drop on a global scale.

All in all, the world’s biggest nuclear powers could put to death more than five billion people.

Even in the “most optimistic” case, in which food waste is reduced by 100% and there is an equitable distribution of food worldwide, these measures would only make it possible to resist intermediate detonations, around 47 teragrams of soot emitted.

In the end, Alan Robock, one of the study’s investigators, concludes quite simply: “We have to avoid nuclear war.”

Source: With Agencies

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