A U.S.-Russia nuclear war could starve 5 billion to death, study says

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As many as two-thirds of the world’s population could starve to death in a nuclear war between Russia and the United States, according to a Rutgers University-led study published Monday. A nuclear conflict could cause “catastrophic” disruptions to food supplies, as soot and ash dries up crops around the world, researchers wrote in a peer-reviewed study. Published In Nature Food Journal.

Even a mini-nuclear war between Pakistan and India would destroy food supplies, reduce world production by 7 percent in five years, and kill 2.5 billion people. In these cases food insecurity will be more deadly than nuclear explosions, the study predicts.

“The data tells us one thing: We must prevent nuclear war from ever happening,” climate scientist Alan Robock, co-author of the study, said in a statement.

The researchers examined how smoke and fires could spread from nuclear strikes above major food exporters such as the United States and China, and wind patterns in cloudy skies. A lack of sunlight would cause harvests to collapse, and livestock, fisheries and crop production worldwide could drop by 90 percent within four years of conflict between the major nuclear powers.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s military exercises near Taiwan have rekindled fears of a nuclear conflict. After war broke out in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his nuclear arsenal was “ready for war”, raising fears of a possible nuclear conflict with the West 30 years after the end of the Cold War. (Russian authorities Tried softening later Putin’s warning.)

China has conducted numerous drills around Taiwan following a recent trip by US lawmakers to the island, which Beijing claims as its territory. Western experts have warned that Beijing is destabilizing the Taiwan Strait accelerator Building up its nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear war would exacerbate existing threats to food security. Global food production has already been disrupted by climate change, the war in Ukraine and the coronavirus pandemic. a record 345 million people The world faces food insecurity, with an increase of nearly 200 million compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the World Food Programme.

A British official has warned that the threat of nuclear weapons is greater now than in the Cold War

In response, countries such as India and Malaysia have limited exports of wheat and chicken. The fear of global conflict—whether or not it might involve nuclear weapons— And the resulting food insecurity may cause countries to limit exports or increase food supplies.

“The psychological impact may outweigh the actual damage,” said William Chen, a professor of food science at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and director of the government-affiliated Food Security Program.

To prepare for greater global volatility, he added, countries need to move away from traditional agriculture and diversify their food sources. Mushroom farming, indoor farming and Insect protein production Or microalgae may provide an alternative.

“It doesn’t take up much space,” Chen said. “They can grow in your kitchen, underground and less dependent on an environment exposed to nuclear war.”

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