Jayantha Dhanapala and Ira Helfand say a limited nuclear exchange between two lesser powers could set off a world-wide famine.
Recent ballistic missile tests by India, Pakistan and North Korea -- which has ominously threatened to "reduce to ashes" the South Korean military "in minutes" -- are once again focusing the world's attention on the dangers of nuclear war. This concern was dramatically underscored in a new report released at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Chicago. Titled "Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk" (PDF), the study shows that even a limited nuclear war, involving less than half of 1% of the world's nuclear arsenals, would cause climate disruption that could set off a global famine.
The study, prepared by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, used a scenario of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs exploded in a war between India and Pakistan. If there were such a war, the study estimated that 1 billion people, one-sixth of the human race, could starve over the following decade.