Many people are frightened by Putin’s nuclear bomb threat as part of the Ukraine war. A study shows whether fishing could feed us if the worst came to the worst.
Moscow/Potsdam/Barcelona – “I am instructing the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Defense Staff to put the Russian army’s deterrent forces on special combat readiness,” Vladimir Putin said in a televised conversation with senior Russian military officials at the end of February. Without going into specifics, he sent the signal to the West that anyone who interferes in the Ukraine conflict could trigger the use of atomic bombs.
Attacks by the Russian army on Ukrainian nuclear power plants also fueled fears of nuclear catastrophes. The war in Ukraine not only increased the demand for iodine tablets in pharmacies, but similar to the beginning of the corona pandemic, supermarket shelves also emptied very quickly.
In the scenario of a nuclear war as a result of the fighting in Ukraine, however, the question arises not only of individual sustenance, but also of the long-term nutrition of mankind.
Ukraine War: How Would a Nuclear Escalation Affect Food Security?
Because a nuclear war would trigger a nuclear winter, as another study shows. “We’re noticing severe losses in agricultural production, but we’ve also looked at the impact of trade on local food availability. It turns out that the major grain regions would cut exports and then countries around the world would suffer from supply shortages,” explains lead author of the study Jonas Jägermeyr from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the University of Chicago . “We now know that a nuclear conflict would not only be a terrible tragedy in the region where it happens – it is also an underestimated risk to global food security.”
A guest post on the website of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons explains what that means: not only do plants and soil become contaminated by radioactivity on the surface of the leaves. But even with the explosion of 50 atomic bombs, so much soot would rise into the earth’s atmosphere that a kind of blanket would form around the earth. It is believed that this would drop the temperature by around 10 degrees Celsius, as the soot blanket blocks sunlight. Plant photosynthesis would be impaired and agricultural yields would fall. Marine phytoplankton would also be affected.
Ukraine war: nuclear bombs would fuel overfishing even further
A study by researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona led by Kim Scherrer examined the extent to which a nuclear war would pollute the oceans. Published in the journal PNAS, the study also explains what role the oceans could play in supplying humanity after a nuclear war.
The study simulated six nuclear war scenarios between the US and Russia and India and Pakistan. While in the worst of scenarios, an all-out nuclear war between Russia and the US, fish stocks would fall by about 30 percent, a local war between India and Pakistan would reduce fish stocks by only 4 percent. Even in this conflict, about a few hundred nuclear warheads would detonate. Since there are already signs of overfishing in the world’s oceans, according to the researchers, it would be necessary to take measures. It is conceivable that mankind could compensate for 40 percent of meat production with fisheries should Russia’s offensive in Ukraine or another conflict lead to a nuclear war in the future. (Tanja Koch)