Left: The Atlantic's climate genius Robinson Meyer. Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject. Right: 23Kt Badger Test Shot detonated April 18 1953 in Nevada

The Atlantic: Even a Minor Nuclear War would be a Climate Problem

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart; Atlantic contributor Robinson Meyer mentions all the dead people and wrecked cities, before progressing on to discussing important climate consequences.

On Top of Everything Else, Nuclear War Would Be a Climate Problem

Even a “minor” skirmish would wreck the planet.

By Robinson Meyer
MARCH 10, 2022

When we talk about what causes climate change, we usually talk about oil and gas, coal and cars, and—just generally—energy policy. There’s a good reason for this. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which enters the atmosphere, warms the climate, and … you know the drill. The more fossil fuels you burn, the worse climate change gets. That’s why, a couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time covering the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken the country’s fuel-economy standards. It was an awful policy, one that would have led to more oil consumption for decades to come. If pressed, I would have said that it had a single-digit-percentage chance of creating an uninhabitable climate system.

But energy is not the only domain that has a direct bearing on whether we have a livable climate or not. So does foreign policy—specifically, nuclear war.

Consider a one-megaton nuke, reportedly the size of a warhead on a modern Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. (Warheads on U.S. ICBMs can be even larger.) A detonation of a bomb that size would, within about a four-mile radius, produce winds equal to those in a Category 5 hurricane, immediately flattening buildings, knocking down power lines, and triggering gas leaks. Anyone within seven miles of the detonation would suffer third-degree burns, the kind that sear and blister flesh. These conditions—and note that I have left out the organ-destroying effects of radiation—would rapidly turn an eight-mile blast radius into a zone of total human misery. But only at this moment of the war do the climate consequences truly begin.

This is not the first time WUWT has commented on Robinson Meyer’s work.

Babylon Bee was quick to respond (h/t Breitbart).

Media personality Buck Sexton was also impressed.

Not much I can add to those responses, other than, whatever you are smoking Robinson Meyer, you should maybe consider cutting back a little.

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Chaswarnertoo
March 14, 2022 6:08 am

A ‘minor’ nuclear war? Limited to one planet?

jeffery p
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 14, 2022 6:12 am

Limited to the Ukrainian battlefield instead of escalating into a regional or global nuclear war.

A limited nuclear war was wargamed in the latter part of the cold war. It assumes combatants would exchange nuke attacks tit-for-tat instead of escalating. Many people thought it frightening to contemplate any nuclear war.

Last edited 2 months ago by jeffery p
Richard Page
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 6:56 am

Yeah – extremely sceptical of that far-fetched scenario. Once we’ve crossed the ‘nuclear threshold’ the consequences are likely to be fairly unpredictable and disastrous. And that’s without considering the reactions of nuclear armed states outside of the conflict area who may panic.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 7:17 am

I concur. If there are such things as “tipping points”, throwing the FIRST nuclear bomb is one.

Spetzer86
Reply to  Joao Martins
March 14, 2022 10:21 am

Well, as long as there were only three in the world, one or two was ok, from a retaliation standpoint. Now, it’s a little different.

Dave
Reply to  Spetzer86
March 14, 2022 12:08 pm

First we got the bomb and that was good, cause we like peace and motherhood…’til Alabama gets the bomb. Tom Lehrer

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 10:02 am

Or who may seek to take advantage of the chaos to advance their own agendas.

roaddog
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 8:26 pm

Thought? Past tense inappropriate.

Richard Page
Reply to  roaddog
March 15, 2022 5:31 am

Try as I might, I still can’t understand either the purpose or content of your post. Sorry.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Richard Page
March 15, 2022 3:07 am

Use it or lose it.

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 5:25 am

That’s the attitude that will prevail after we cross the nuclear threshold and one reason why I’m highly sceptical that we would be able to limit the conflict.

Derg
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 7:23 am

Wasn’t Covid war gamed 🤔

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Derg
March 14, 2022 10:13 am
Drake
Reply to  Derg
March 14, 2022 11:12 am

As to Right-Handed Shark’s link, it took a few clicks to find the time of the war game at Johns Hopkins, and it was in September of 2019. That was, as best as I can find, about the time the first cases had appeared in China.

If you are going to test a hypothesis, unlike CAGW, actually let is happen to prove or disprove it. BTW, they projected 85 million dead, so they missed their mark.

The recent Johns Hopkins “Peer reviewed” study showing the essential lack of effectiveness of all the China virus remediation attempts should be accepted at face value and as “THE TRUTH”, or per Fauci, “THE SCIENCE” since they were, coincidently on it from the start.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Drake
March 15, 2022 3:10 am

“As to Right-Handed Shark’s link, it took a few clicks to find the time of the war game at Johns Hopkins, and it was in September of 2019. That was, as best as I can find, about the time the first cases had appeared in China.”

I think that is correct from everything I have seen.

The Chicoms knew they had a new, very infectious disease months before they told the rest of the world.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 8:44 am

Yes, because tactical nukes are so much less devastating than the strategic ones.

EasyCo.
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 14, 2022 9:09 am

By quit a bit.

Drake
Reply to  EasyCo.
March 14, 2022 11:36 am

Especially when it comes to Russian strategic ones. The scorched earth attacks of the Russian’s on the Ukraine cities are just a continuation of Russia’s war fighting policies, including nuclear war.

Create massive destruction.

jeffery p
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 14, 2022 11:01 am

20KT vs 200 to 300KT+? Yes, the tactical nukes are so very much less devastating.

Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 11:10 am

Tactical nukes fairly pointless. The main reason for nukes at all was on account of poor bombing accuracy. One 5 tonne conventional wahead on Putins office saves a megton razing of Moscow.

jeffery p
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 14, 2022 2:06 pm

I don’t know how we could drop a 5-ton conventional warhead on Putins’ office. None of the US or Nato bombers or missiles can carry a weapon that big. I also believe we’re not talking about the same weapons, either.

What we’re talking about is a yield like the Hiroshima “Little Boy” bomb (about 15 KT) or less. They are highly effective against massed troops, massed armored formations, or some defensive fortifications. A tactical nuke could also be an escalated, but still limited, response to the use of chemical or biological weapons.

When you hear “tactical” nuke, think “battlefield.”

That doesn’t mean these weapons could not be used against cities, but why would Putin do that instead of using a bigger nuke to destroy the city?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jeffery p
March 15, 2022 3:17 am

“When you hear “tactical” nuke, think “battlefield.”

When you think tactical nuke, you should be thinking total nuclear war.

Once that nuclear weapon threshold is crossed it’s going to be a done deal. Would you hesitate and possibly lose your entire nuclear deterrent? I don’t think any one would.

Putin is bluffing. Nuclear war would be the death of Putin and Russia. Putin does not want to die.

At some point, Putin’s bluff will have to be called or else we can just surrender now.

If I were president of the USA I would send a message to Putin and Xi telling them there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war as far as I was concerned, just in case there was any confusion in their minds on the subject.

It’s all or nothing.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 7:47 am

Wouldn’t surprise me if Putin believed he could get away with using one or two low yield nukes in the Ukraine. He believes the West, especially Biden, is too cowardly to respond to any provocation he makes.

John Tillman
Reply to  jeffery p
March 15, 2022 4:29 am

Some tactical nukes are one kiloton.

There are dial a yield warheads, including with enhanced radiation weapons.

lee
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 10:13 pm

What it doesn’t do is wargame a small country and say “see what I can do”. And then retire topeace perhaps.

Vuk
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 14, 2022 6:38 am

A short delay required until Elon Musk and other multi billionaires with few ladies move to Mars.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Vuk
March 14, 2022 8:45 am

However much we love Elon, Putin would fight dirty, and win.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 14, 2022 8:46 am

Sorry, this is a reply to Vuk’s next comment – out of order.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 14, 2022 7:57 am

All bets are off when an evil megalomaniac and a brain dead puppet are in control of most of the worlds nuclear weapons.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  co2isnotevil
March 14, 2022 10:22 am

A puppet as leader of the strongest country, was the leading factor in a decision to invade by the other side.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 15, 2022 3:27 am

Probably.

paul courtney
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 15, 2022 7:48 am

Mr. Pearse: Puppet? Hand or finger? IMO Joe Brandon was a hand puppet, but diminished cognition has reduced him to a finger puppet.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 14, 2022 8:01 am

Minor nuclear wars are certainly possible, and have been considered extensively during teh Cold War.

Wars between India/Pakistan, or Israel/Iran are examples of wars where the number of nuclear bursts would be quite limited…

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 15, 2022 3:41 am

We may see a nuclear war between Israel and the Mad Mullahs of Iran in the near future, if Biden’s nuclear “deal” gets finalized.

The Obama-Biden-Mad Mullah nuclear deal guarantees the Mad Mullahs will eventually get a nuclear weapon. Trump killed the deal as soon as he got in office.

It is claimed this new nuclear deal Biden is trying to do with the Mad Mullahs is even worse than the first deal. We can’t say for sure because the details are not being released. And get this: The Russians are handling the negotiations with the Mad Mullahs for Biden because the Mad Mullahs won’t talk to Biden. This deal will give the Mad Mullahs of Iran access to billions of dollars. What do you suppose the Mad Mullahs are going to do with all that cash? Nothing that will be good for the United States, that’s for sure.

Biden is just clueless about foreign affairs and he is getting us into all sorts of jams because of his delusional view of the world. Worst president Evah!. He is a walking disaster. And the bad guys of the world are taking advantage of him and his delusions. And they are probably taking advantage of putting Biden in a position where they can blackmail him by giving Biden millions of dollars in the past.

Biden is hiden in Deleware. He needs to be impeached and removed from office in January 2023, if Republicans win control of Congress. The man is a disaster for the United States. Everything he has done is detrimental to the U.S. Everything. If you wanted to destroy the United States, you would do what Joe Biden is doing.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 7:50 am

A couple of prominent Democrats are talking about bringing back the “windfall profits” taxes on oil.

The 70’s called, and they want their oil policies back.

Iran brought down Jimmy Carter, will they do the same to Biden?

Mark BLR
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 14, 2022 10:16 am

A ‘minor’ nuclear war?

India managed to fire a missile into Pakistan during “routine maintenance” at the end of last week.

Luckily it appears that no warhead, nuclear or conventional, was attached at the time, and only property damage occurred on “impact”.

Reminder : Both India and Pakistan have nukes.

Next time “we” might not be so lucky.

LdB
Reply to  Mark BLR
March 14, 2022 10:48 pm

You wouldn’t test a missile while it had a warhead on it.

Mark BLR
Reply to  LdB
March 15, 2022 3:51 am

… test …

I read that it was during “routine maintenance“, it wasn’t meant to “fly” !

Without knowing the details of what happened, I can imagine that many “tighten a few bolts and top up the grease / oil / (liquid) rocket fuel tanks” operations wouldn’t “require” removing any warhead that was already attached first.

jeffery p
March 14, 2022 6:10 am

File this under no shit foolin’ Sherlock. But won’t we have bigger, more immediate problems than climate change? Mass death, possible escalation into global thermonuclear war?

Bill Treuren
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 12:29 pm

Actually if you followed the last round of Russian or USSR propaganda a nuclear winter would emerge so saving the world from a CAGW event. Much cheaper!!

DHR
March 14, 2022 6:14 am

There were about 1,000 nuclear bomb tests conducted in air, space or underwater by all of the nuclear armed countries in the mid-twentieth century. We seem to have survived that.

fretslider
Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 6:37 am

“Global warming has heated the oceans by the equivalent of one atomic bomb explosion per second for the past 150 years” – Damian Carrington

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/07/global-warming-of-oceans-equivalent-to-an-atomic-bomb-per-second

So a few more won’t make much difference.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  fretslider
March 14, 2022 10:33 am

Roy Spencer: “the average hurricane releases the energy equivalent of 10 Hiroshima-class bombs every second.”

Rational Db8
Reply to  fretslider
March 14, 2022 1:43 pm
Rational Db8
Reply to  Rational Db8
March 14, 2022 1:44 pm

Or the slower version, if you prefer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjAqR1zICA0

TDS
Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 6:40 am

However, they were spread out in space and time. Not all in quick succession like would happen in a nuclear war. The difference here is that there would probably be 2-6,000 nukes going off over the course of days at the most.

Duane
Reply to  TDS
March 14, 2022 7:09 am

And then climate change would become the major existential problem for humankind? As if …

DHR
Reply to  TDS
March 14, 2022 9:22 am

The amount of radioactivity released to the earth’s atmosphere by the Chernobyl reactor accident – all at one time – was in the same ballpark as that released by all prior above-ground nuclear bomb tests conducted over a few decades. The physical damage resulting from a nuclear war will, of course, far eclipse Chernobyl but from a radioactivity release standpoint, they are not much different.

Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 11:13 am

I.e. completely negligible. Hor9ioshima and Nagasaki were not sealed off for 40 years and then micro vacuumed. People just moved back in and built back.
Actually Chernobyl was probably about 50 bombs worth. Lot of radoactivity in a reactor.

OweninGA
Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 11:18 am

An airburst nuclear blast has very little fallout. There is a small amount of contaminated land right below the blast center that actually doesn’t stay radioactive for too long. The main issues are gamma ray burst and shockwave destruction. The biggest health concern for survivors is how well they were shielded from the gamma burst. The more direct the exposure the more likely to suffer radiation illness or death.

A surface nuclear blast is messy as it gets. That will irradiate soil and toss it into the stratosphere to settle around the world. People will be getting radiation dosages for centuries depending on how close they were to the blast.

Rational Db8
Reply to  OweninGA
March 14, 2022 1:49 pm

It’s a very good bet that in any nuclear exchange, the majority would be airbursts – that’s because the overpressure is far greater and therefore an airburst actually does far more widespread damage than a ground (or just above ground) burst does. So with an airburst at the right height above ground, you get far greater deaths, damage and destruction to buildings, deaths, etc. This is why both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were airbursts, not surface bursts.

jeffery p
Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 7:03 am

You beat me to it. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were rebuilt soon after 1945. Bikini Atoll recovered from all the H-bomb tests. Nuclear fallout is largely gone within 2 weeks.

While nuclear winter is an exaggeration, it is possible that extra particulate matter may be thrown into the atmosphere, which would lead to global cooling. Isn’t that a good thing? A nuclear war could save us from the “existentialist threat” of runaway global warming.

Last edited 2 months ago by jeffery p
pigs_in_space
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 4:14 pm

“Bikini Atoll recovered from all the H-bomb tests.”

Utter bollox, the place is still way too radioactive to this day.

The islanders were duped by the US government to move from a place like heaven on earth to a barren island with nothing.

https://interestingengineering.com/what-became-of-the-residents-of-bikini-atoll

Even if you scraped all the top soil off (useful eh, if you want to grow anything) the Radiocaesium levels are still so high everyone gets hit by gamma background.

Maybe you should go and live there instead of spouting about stuff like Griff?

Duane
Reply to  pigs_in_space
March 14, 2022 6:04 pm

Actually the residual radiation levels at Bikini Atoll aren’t all that high. A 2016 study found an average of 184 mrem/year of gamma radiation there. Radiation workers in the US are allowed to receive 500 mrem/year – a level established at only 10% of the minimum exposure – 5,000 mrem/yr) that causes any measurable health effects in humans.

To put that exposure in perspective, every human on earth receives an average exposure due to natural sources of 300 mrem per year. So while the excess exposure on Bikini Atoll is a bit higher than average, it’s well below any exposure likely to cause any measurable health effects.

andic
Reply to  Duane
March 15, 2022 2:48 am

Bikini Atoll 184 mrem/year
Everyone anywhere in the world 300 mrem/year

184 is less than 300, so where is the excess? have you missed a zero?

Anyway would like to point out that in my experience of engineering there is usually very little to back up any kind of safe spec max and anything medical god help you. So the 500 mrem/year or 10% of 5000 mrem/yr is as likely as not a just a nice, round, safe sounding fraction of a number that someone more or less pulled out of their arse.

Probably.

MarkW
Reply to  andic
March 15, 2022 7:54 am

Why don’t you check out the medical literature, rather than just randomly mouthing off irrational ramblings.
The radiation levels for various cities all around the world are well known.
Radiation exposure levels for individuals are known.
Life time studies for individuals have been done.

The fact that low levels of radiation is not a problem has been well known for generations. Just because you prefer to remain ignorant and paranoid does not change basic science.

PS: Why don’t you spend a few minutes and look up the meaning of average. Duane stated that the world wide average is 300. By definition, it is possible for some areas to be less than average. Since atolls are at sea level, they have maximum atmospheric shielding from cosmic radiation. Being surrounded by water, there are no ground based sources of radiation, so you would expect atolls to have low average radiation levels.

Last edited 2 months ago by MarkW
Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 8:47 am

But those were just tests, not the real thing.

EasyCo.
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 14, 2022 9:12 am

What, you think they used firecrackers?

jeffery p
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 14, 2022 11:03 am

Tests using real nuclear warheads that made real nuclear explosions.

Rational Db8
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 1:51 pm

I’d add one more bit: “Tests using real nuclear warheads that made real nuclear explosions” of the same sizes that would occur if nuclear war broke out.

Dudley Horscroft(@dudleyhorscroft)
Reply to  DHR
March 14, 2022 5:43 pm

Yes. But not one of those tests were directed against a city, or even a village, with living people as the targets. Apart from ground level tests, secondary radiation was limited. So unlivable areas were limited in size. Even so, sheer caution as to the effects of scattered radioactive particles as a result of bomb tests in Australia makes a large area of the desert unlivable.

Tactical nuclear weapons are designed for use against massed troops/armour. To deal with an armed populace, such as would exist in Ukraine after it had been conquered by Russia, they would be useless. Unless of course the intent is to carpet bomb Ukraine’s cities and make them completely uninhabitable, with no living souls left..

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
March 15, 2022 3:53 am

“Unless of course the intent is to carpet bomb Ukraine’s cities and make them completely uninhabitable, with no living souls left..”

That seems to be Putin’s evil objective.

fretslider
March 14, 2022 6:14 am

“A nuclear war would kill tens of millions of people—and would also prove disastrous for climate change, writes @robinsonmeyer.”


What is really meant is a nuclear exchange would be even more distracting from the climate change narrative than the war in Ukraine.

George Carlin said ‘the Earth doesn’t give a s**t’ and he was right; why would it?

Last edited 2 months ago by fretslider
Ben Vorlich
Reply to  fretslider
March 14, 2022 7:06 am

When compared to the Earth’s, as opposed to man’s, self inflicted wounds then a nuclear war is small beer. Flood Basalts and the like

John Tillman
March 14, 2022 6:29 am

Few if any Russian or US ICBMs carry single, megaton-range warheads any more. Huge Soviet SS-18 originally carried a single 18-25 MT warhead, but now delivers many 550 to 750 KT MIRVs.

Our small Minuteman ICBMs mount three 350 KT MIRVs. So he’s also wrong to imagine that our payloads are of higher yield.

EasyCo.
Reply to  John Tillman
March 14, 2022 9:17 am

Wrong.

SS18 carried the most 10 MIRV warheads at 1 mt a piece.

25MT is a huge bomb that needed a bomber, but since almost none were ever made…

Duane
Reply to  EasyCo.
March 14, 2022 6:11 pm

The design yields are much smaller now because the targeting precision is much higher. You don’t need a multi megaton yield for most targets today when targeting precision is on the order of only several tens of meters. Those old multi megaton weapons were developed for unguided gravity bombs and imprecisely guided ballistic missiles that could easily be delivered off target by hundreds if not thousands of meters.

John Tillman
Reply to  EasyCo.
March 15, 2022 4:37 am

The current variant, Mod 5, carries 10 MIRVs of 550-750 Kt, plus decoys and other penetration aids. Mod 1 carried a single warhead of 18 to 25 Mt.

https://nuke.fas.org/guide/russia/icbm/r-36m.htm

Yield of 550 Kt is probable, ie a 50 Kt boosted fission primary and 500 Kt fusion-fission secondary.

Increased accuracy obviated the need for megaton-range warheads.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Tillman
Timo, not that one
March 14, 2022 6:31 am

On the bright side, Br@ndon would be strongly discouraged from starting a nuclear war because the warmunists in the party won’t want to exacerbate the glow ball warming.

John Tillman
Reply to  Timo, not that one
March 14, 2022 6:37 am

While nuclear winter was exaggerated, an all-out thermonuclear exchange would probably cool the planet for a brief period. Plus k!ll maybe a billion people.

jeffery p
Reply to  John Tillman
March 14, 2022 7:07 am

Isn’t that the environmentalists’ dream? Fewer people and a cooling climate?

John Tillman
Reply to  jeffery p
March 15, 2022 5:11 am

Any cooling effect would be temporary.

Yes, Green Meanies would like fewer people. Loss of a billion would return us to about 2011 global population, but distributed differently, since Asia, Europe and North America would be most affected. The world would be much poorer.

LdB
Reply to  Timo, not that one
March 14, 2022 10:59 pm

I think what we have found with Brandon at the helm is that a weak indecisive US president makes the world a much more dangerous place.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  LdB
March 15, 2022 3:57 am

Absolutely.

Bill Toland
March 14, 2022 6:36 am

I know that climate alarmists have trouble understanding science and reality, but this is mind boggling. I am starting to wonder if climate alarmists are actually mentally ill.

Steve Case
Reply to  Bill Toland
March 14, 2022 6:48 am

 I am starting to wonder if climate alarmists are actually mentally ill.
______________________________________________________

No, they know exactly what they are doing, and the useful idiots are no different than the followers of religions that preach goofy crap.

Richard Page
Reply to  Bill Toland
March 14, 2022 7:06 am

Just saw a news article that referenced a recent (I think) study from Duke University which was, apparently, raised with the Biden regime. In it the author states that large numbers of Americans born before 1996 have greatly reduced intelligence due to contamination from leaded petrol whilst they were children. The study links leaded petrol with clinical pathology that shows the lead in petrol can have a detrimental effect on intelligence during a child’s development but without any kind of observational data or references other than this.

oeman 50
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 7:21 am

I was born before 1996 and there is tut, tut, absolutely tut, tut nothing wrong with me.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 7:44 am

I risk another interpretation of the same data complemented with an analysis of the quality of scientific publications before and after 1996: lead in petrol (and in water ducts, and…) perhaps had an enhancing effect in intelligence development.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joao Martins
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 7:55 am

What’s Brandons birth year ? 😀

Vlad the Impaler
Reply to  Richard Page
March 14, 2022 3:59 pm

I did a presentation at a conference (2019) in which there were data that suggested that since 2007, there have been measurable declines in overall and/or average human intelligence. Certainly anecdotal, and possibly premature, but still, someone besides me is apparently seeing something.

I am unable to address anything concerning growing up during the leaded-petrol era (b. 1950), except that I have an advanced degree in Exploration Geophysics, and I’ve taught some generations of Math at our local community college. Part of the reason I did the presentation that I did is because right around 2008 or 2009, I started to notice that ‘something was rotten in Denmark’ with the students. All levels of Math became more difficult to teach; there was less comprehension, and much lower retention of information. During the last year that I taught, I literally had students tell me that I had ‘not covered’ material that I distinctly knew I had. Forcing them to go back over the notes I had supplied, I would get these blank stares, almost zombie-like, and a disheartening admission from the student(s), ‘I do not remember this … ‘.

Oh, yes: did I mention that 2007 was the first year that the “Smart” phone was introduced?

“Smart Phones make people stupid. Smart Phones make stupid people.”

Regards to all,

Vlad

TonyG
Reply to  Vlad the Impaler
March 15, 2022 6:44 am

I can see a possible connection: intelligence is essentially problem-solving ability. We let our machines (and the goog) solve our problems for us now.

It’s a very real phenomenom when it comes to navigation: people are less aware of their surroundings and don’t remember routes anymore, because they’re engaged with their phone/GPS instead of with the environment around them.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Bill Toland
March 14, 2022 8:13 am

I am starting to wonder if climate alarmists are actually mentally ill.

No. They are just very, very greedy…

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 14, 2022 10:15 am

They realize their life is meaningless when a real problem comes along.

Eric Vieira
March 14, 2022 6:56 am

The US warheads are of lower power (kilotons usually) because their guidance systems are more precise. If a warhead comes closer to its target, you need less power to destroy it. At least this used to be the case. Maybe the Russians have improved their precision in the meantime.

jeffery p
Reply to  Eric Vieira
March 14, 2022 7:16 am

It wouldn’t surprise me if 50% of the Russian missiles were duds. The war against Ukraine shows the Russian military is still third-rate. It’s somewhat improved from the Soviet Union/Cold War days but it’s still not as formidable as many believe.

Admittedly, I just pulled that 50% number out of my hat. Russia has modernized its nuclear arsenal while the US arsenal is outdated and not well-maintained. I believe we still have a qualitative superiority in our troops — for now.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  jeffery p
March 14, 2022 10:07 pm

Why do you think America’s nuclear weapons are poorly maintained? If they are, things have radically changed since I fought in the cold war.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jeffery p
March 15, 2022 4:08 am

“It wouldn’t surprise me if 50% of the Russian missiles were duds. The war against Ukraine shows the Russian military is still third-rate.”

I don’t have any information on duds, but it appears that the Ukrainians are managing to shoot down a lot of Russia’s incoming missiles. I think they said Russia fired 30 cruise missiles from airforce bombers at a military base close to Poland the other day but only six of the missiles hit the target with the rest being shot down short of the target.

Russia is still in the fight because they have artillery and airplanes that are hard for Ukrainians to counter. The Russians can just sit back and pound the Ukrainians and the Ukrainians can’t do much about it. Just think if Russia were facing an equal military force that could target Russia’s artillery and aircraft. In that case, I think Russia would be in big trouble.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 8:04 am

Even the US doesn’t have an unlimited supply of cruise missiles. Those puppies are expensive. I would imagine that Russia with a much, much smaller economy, would have a lot fewer. It won’t be too much longer until Russia starts running short of ammo, especially the high tech, expensive stuff.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Eric Vieira
March 14, 2022 8:51 am

“Close is good enough in horseshoes and nuclear war.”

Ben Vorlich
March 14, 2022 7:00 am

When he says “disastrous for Climate Change” does he mean that the Nuclear Winter is worse the CO2 warming, or that the little warming we’ve had up until now is a good thing in practice and a nuclear conflict will stop it dead in its tracks

Michael 63
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 14, 2022 7:04 am

He means disaster for climate change scientists I think. As in no funding or attention at all.

Tom Halla
March 14, 2022 7:06 am

Seeing the headline, I thought at least he would be dusting off the Turco, Toon, Ackermann, Pollack, and Sagan “nuclear winter” scenario, one of the earliest global climate models.
If I remember correctly, that model predicted global cooling after the Kuwait oil fires were set by Saddam Hussein.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 14, 2022 9:25 am

If I remember correctly, that model predicted global cooling after the Kuwait oil fires were set by Saddam Hussein.

I remember the same. Also, any number of armchair analysts claimed it would be 5 years before all the fires were put out. It took 8 months. Some people become idiots when they see a TV crew.

OweninGA
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
March 14, 2022 11:26 am

They seriously underestimated the Red Adair bunch. Those guys hit it so fast that there was less damage than any of the internal analysts thought as well. The Pentagon estimate was about 18 months if I remember correctly from briefings at the time. Of course, the White House fast-tracked the contracts more than any of us anticipated and cleared the logistics jam faster than I have ever seen. (It was not cheap.)

Tom Abbott
Reply to  OweninGA
March 15, 2022 4:12 am

Red Adair! I think they made a movie about him.

OweninGA
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 6:33 am

If you want something done right, go for the guy with the most experience with success in the field. I think that was his last hurrah though as he was in his mid 70s, but was a great field general in battling the fires of heck. (harsher language usually used here.) I think he had already sold the company and retired, but still came to Kuwait to supervise and organize the effort.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 8:04 am

Starring John Wayne if I remember correctly.

Duane
March 14, 2022 7:07 am

Reminds me of that now common refrain from the warmunists, “It’s even worse than we thought!” … that has now evolved into a laugh line.

All out nuclear war would actually, and quite obviously, be a real danger to everyone, rather than the faked up false threat of “global warming” which, even if it occurs, would easily be a very large net positive for the planet and for humankind.

jeffery p
Reply to  Duane
March 14, 2022 11:06 am

Yeah, but where would they get funding for climate change after a nuclear war? Think of all the people who would be out of work if we stopped funding climate change!

Derg
March 14, 2022 7:26 am

The Bee has been so good lately.

Joao Martins
March 14, 2022 7:28 am

Nuclear War Would Be a Climate Problem

You can’t fix stupid.

You can’t fix educated, erudite insanity either.

Better: You can’t fix the conscious criminal rabid misanthropic climatic insanity.

One Portuguese poet wrote, a few decades ago:

“Lord, have mercy of them
because they know what they are doing.”

(Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, in ‘Livro Sexto’, 1962)

zemlik
March 14, 2022 7:30 am

Haven’t they hidden the football from Biden ?

John_C
Reply to  zemlik
March 14, 2022 1:01 pm

Thought they gave it to Lucy.

Michael S. Kelly
March 14, 2022 7:31 am

Consider a one-megaton nuke, reportedly the size of a warhead on a modern Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. (Warheads on U.S. ICBMs can be even larger.)”

“Reportedly?” Reported by whom? Modern Russian ICBM nuclear warheads are about half that size, and U.S. warheads are roughly the same size. The whole drive by both sides for decades has been to increase accuracy and decrease yield, just to avoid global catastrophe.

To put things in perspective, though, there have been a total of 520 above-ground nuclear tests, with a total yield of about 545 megatons. Fifty megatons of that were from a single bomb, the Soviet AN602, detonated on October 30, 1961 over Severny Island. It was the single biggest thing the human race has ever done, yielding 10 times the energy of all of the explosives used by all belligerents in World War II – in one microsecond.

The eruption of Tambora Island in 1815 had a yield estimated at 33,000 megatons, while the combined yield of all nuclear weapons on Earth at the height of the Cold War was about 22,000 megatons. It’s considerably less today.

All of these things happened already, and we’re still here.

Relax, folks. Relax.

Last edited 2 months ago by Michael S. Kelly
Meab
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 14, 2022 9:29 am

The greatest problem from an all-out nuclear war is not the spread of radioactive contamination globally. The effects from radioactive exposure (like cancer), assumung that you’re not near the nuclear burst, happen months to many years later. The problem would be the collapse of society. No city dweller who survives the exchange of strategic nuclear weapons would be able to survive more than a month after as cities are totally dependent on food and energy being brought in from outside. Every city dweller would become a refugee, scouring the countryside for sustenance.

It’s almost certain that systems for energy production would be targeted (dams, refineries, nuclear power plants, etc.). Having to rely on unreliable renewables would mean that nearly everyone would starve. Putin knows this. I doubt that Brandon does.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Meab
March 14, 2022 11:14 am

I believe that hitting dams and nuclear power plants would be considered war crimes, and I don’t think they are on the target list.

Elle Webber
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 14, 2022 11:25 am

You forgot your sarcasm tag. Gotta use it or people think you mean it.

meab
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 14, 2022 5:38 pm

No such thing as a war crime in an all-out nuclear war. That was funny.

jeffery p
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 14, 2022 11:08 am

They can’t get their climate facts right, why would you expect them to get this right? Sure, they could probably just do a little research, even just check Wikipedia. But who wants facts that distract from the narrative?

Alex
March 14, 2022 7:46 am

https://www.livescience.com/12996-regional-nuclear-war-effects-global-cooling.html
A Small Nuclear War Would Stall Global WarmingNASA computer models reveal what a small, regional nuclear war in one part of the world would do to the global climate and environment. The results are grim.
If 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs, each as powerful as 15,000 tons of TNT, were exchanged in a war between two developing-world nuclear powers such as India and Pakistan, models show the resulting fires would send five million metric tons of black carbon into the upper troposphere – the lowest-altitude layer of the atmosphere.
There, the soot would absorb solar heat and rise like a hot-air balloon, reaching heights from which it would not easily settle back to the ground.

E. Swanson
Reply to  Alex
March 14, 2022 10:15 am

Here’s a presentation by Alan Robock given at the AGU 2021 Annual Conference. He discusses the results of updated modeling of even a small exchange involving attacks on cities and the resulting fire storms. The resulting carbon particulates lofted high into the stratosphere could prevent crop growth in the NH for a year or two. A larger war would also have the same impact, but covering the SH as well. The talk begins about 40 minutes into the video:

https://www.agu.org/Fall-Meeting/Speakers/Named-Lectures/Alan-Robock

One can only hope that Mr. Putin understands the science, unlike Mr. Trump, who once made a comment like: “Why can’t I use nukes?”.

Reply to  E. Swanson
March 14, 2022 11:20 am

The physics and mechanics of pyroclastric clouds are still a subject of intense discussion and research. A fire storm implies heat great enough to burn all the carbon

Its just more ‘let me scare you, I’m a crap scientist’ stuff.

Derg
Reply to  E. Swanson
March 14, 2022 12:40 pm

That’s funny. You forgot Russian colluuuusion too 🤓

Tom Abbott
Reply to  E. Swanson
March 15, 2022 4:27 am

“One can only hope that Mr. Putin understands the science, unlike Mr. Trump, who once made a comment like: “Why can’t I use nukes?”.”

See, you don’t understand Trump.

Trump just wants to put doubts in dictator’s minds. So he says things like that. Trump knows how to handle bullies. He understands their psychology. And threatening them is part of the deal. Dictators understand threats and pay attention. Especially if they are delivered from someone who can be counted on to carry out his threat if challenged. Trump wants to convince them that he is that kind of guy.

Even you think Trump might use nuclear weapons. The dictators think the same, and they don’t want to die anymore than anyone else. That’s good, don’t you see. That’s called credible deterrence. The dictators will refrain from using nuclear weapons in order to save their own lives, if the threat on their lives is credible. We should make sure that is always the case.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
MarkW
Reply to  E. Swanson
March 15, 2022 8:08 am

The nuclear winter hypothesis was disproven at least 20 to 30 years ago.
It looks like some people are so eager to find something bad to say about Trump, that they are willing to ignore science and reality in order to do it.

E. Swanson
Reply to  MarkW
March 15, 2022 2:25 pm

Apparently, Dr. Robock didn’t get the memo. 20 or 30 years ago? When was it published? Was it peer reviewed?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Alex
March 14, 2022 1:30 pm

“…models show the resulting fires would send five million metric tons of black carbon into the upper troposphere – the lowest-altitude layer of the atmosphere.”

Mount Pinatubo injected 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. Just sayin’.

In terms of “black carbon” (formerly known as carbon black), add up all of the tire fires in the world. Just sayin’….

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  David Wojick
March 14, 2022 8:34 am

^1000

Dodgy Geezer
March 14, 2022 7:56 am

As I recall, a wide scale nuclear war was meant to cool the planet. The Global Warming brigade should be applauding the possibility….

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
March 14, 2022 7:58 am

P.S – they also believe that we should be cuting down on the human population. Sounds to me that a nuclear war would answer all their problems…..

Keven Jackson
March 14, 2022 7:59 am

The funny thing is that policies designed to decrease global warming have helped lead us to a true existential threat of nuclear oblivion by making Europe reliant on Russia for fuel. They’ll get their global cooling in an unexpected way- through nuclear winter.

Smart Rock
March 14, 2022 8:02 am

Anything that would reduce world population can’t be a bad thing for these zealots. Isn’t that the end game anyway?

Terry
March 14, 2022 8:16 am

You know I hadn’t thought about a nuclear war from that perspective. Thanks Robinson. Now I’m really terrified.

Bruce Cobb
March 14, 2022 8:18 am

Yes. Even a minor war with space aliens could be a major climate problem.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 14, 2022 8:43 am

“The Atlantic’s climate genius”. Says a great deal about their intelligence level.

Alexander Mentes
March 14, 2022 8:47 am

What happened to the “Nuclear Winter” theory?

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Alexander Mentes
March 15, 2022 5:45 am

Winter is associated with cold, so it is a banned word.

MarkW
Reply to  Alexander Mentes
March 15, 2022 8:11 am

Even Carl Sagan abandoned it after the Kuwait oil fires failed to have any measurable impact on global temperatures.

Philip
March 14, 2022 9:30 am

My thinking is that if a country goes nuke, tactical or strategic, they’ve decided that they’re in way over their head militarily, and they just have to win right now, regardless of the poisoned environment they leave behind. Which should probably be treated as a war crime no matter which country pulls that trigger.

John_C
Reply to  Philip
March 14, 2022 1:12 pm

Not sure why a rational use of the appropriate weapon is a war crime. Hypothetical: A northern power with 1,000 MBT masses several hundred and invades a southern neighbor (with less than a hundred tanks), who detonates a nuke that disables or destroys that force. Who, if anyone, has committed a war crime? (Be aware that this was US/NATO tactical doctrine for Europe.)

Philip
Reply to  John_C
March 14, 2022 6:35 pm

Perhaps better to understand my thought on war these days… Every war ought to be a world war. (Especially given that the UN today seems to be tone deaf or sound asleep on the issues that the UN was originally formed to deter)
Any aggressor that starts a war should be jumped on by the rest of the world, no hold backs, no friends of the aggressor.
Knowing that beforehand, those persons prone to war will stay home and content themselves there. And if not? Let’s just call it suicide, as the rest of the world piles on and brings a swift end to that nonsense. We need to find a better way. Not war for democracy. Not war for nation building. Not war for Lebensraum. And certainly not war out of habit.
I think that would be far more rational than shooting nukes at each other.

Last edited 2 months ago by Philip
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Philip
March 15, 2022 4:58 am

That would happen in this case, if not for the nuclear weapons.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  John_C
March 15, 2022 4:53 am

“Be aware that this was US/NATO tactical doctrine for Europe.”

I think the plan was to use neutron bombs on Russian tanks coming through the Fulda Gap.

I was stationed at one time at Wildflicken, a NATO nuclear base located near there way back when.

Andy Pattullo
March 14, 2022 9:42 am

The art of buffoonery has no limits.

Neo
March 14, 2022 9:44 am

Regional nuclear war could trigger global cooling and famine
Even a limited nuclear conflict could spark “unprecedented climate change,” U.S. government scientists warn.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/110223-nuclear-war-winter-global-warming-environment-science-climate-change
Published February 23, 2011

Even a regional nuclear war could spark “unprecedented” global cooling and reduce rainfall for years, according to U.S. government computer models.
Widespread famine and disease would likely follow, experts speculate.

Last edited 2 months ago by Neo
David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Neo
March 14, 2022 2:45 pm

comment image

ResourceGuy
March 14, 2022 9:57 am

Show this to Putin since he views this nonsense as the basis for his invasion and weakness in the West. He may want to expand the campaign.

Old.George
March 14, 2022 10:42 am

There ain’t no such thing as a “minor” nuclear war. As meaningful as only a “little bit” pregnant.

March 14, 2022 11:08 am

Nuclear war is probably 100- rimes less frightening than most people think. It the heat and blast dont get you, you will probably survive without radiation poisoning. Nuclear winter is pure fantasy. And if it happened that half the world that burns oil gor wiped out and te world got colder, well that is what greens want, innit?

Gary Pearse
March 14, 2022 11:14 am

“Genius” may be relative to the demonstrated mediocrity of consensus climate scientists. From Steve McIntyre:

“In my opinion, most climate scientists on the Team would have been high school teachers in an earlier generation – if they were lucky. ”

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/04/quote-of-the-week-high-school-climate-science/

Meyers has been called a genius! His article is garden variety dummy class. A true genius’s mind could not be circumscribed by this already falsified construct (50 failed predictions and no successful ones, models running “a way too hot and we don’t know why” …). If a genius were to take up this science, he would without question make his own major contribution, not just holus bolus swallow the whole thing.

Doonman
March 14, 2022 11:15 am

If millions of people suddenly left the earth in a nuclear war, then they would no longer be able to release CO2 into the atmosphere.

Since it is only human released CO2 from sequestered fossil carbon that is what causes climate tipping points, why would an immediate reduction in these releases be bad for the climate?

I don’t think Robinson Meyer has thought this through enough.

ResourceGuy
March 14, 2022 12:03 pm

Here is one back at the English majors.

If a nuclear blast damaged tree falls in a burned forest with no one around, does it make a sound?

ResourceGuy
March 14, 2022 12:15 pm

Make that the Russian Space Station after they bring this astronaut back.

US astronaut to ride Russian spacecraft home during tensions – ABC News (go.com)

Tom Abbott
Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 15, 2022 5:03 am

Musk can reach the space station. The Russians no longer have a monopoly on taking people to orbit.

I think the Russians may move their space operations over to the Chicom space station.

AWG
March 14, 2022 1:53 pm

These psychopaths are far more concerned about hypothetical climate alterations and couldn’t care less about human death and misery.

Allen Stoner
March 14, 2022 3:21 pm

Mt Saint Helens was 24 megatons and was barely a blip on the line for the global climate line…

Really tired of the scare everyone stuff. A minor nuclear war will be less that barely a blip on the global climate.

What it will be is a massacre of those who have taken the mRNA vaccines who will die by the hundreds of millions and those who do not die quickly will jam our hospitals well past the point of uselessness.

The vaccines damage the immune system, specifically the parts that fight cancer.

Clawmute
March 14, 2022 5:45 pm

Meh . . . SCIENCE tells us that Mother Earth will reach a tipping point in 2010 . . . or 2012 . . . or whenever. So what difference will it make if we have a nuclear war in 2021?

OH! WAIT!

March 14, 2022 7:56 pm

Hadley center has introduced another average global temperature report; HadCRUT5. The calculated human contribution to warming since 1909 remains at about 63%. The human contribution is from increased water vapor. The method is documented at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com

aintsm sine H5 1850 to2021.jpg
Last edited 2 months ago by Dan Pangburn
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dan Pangburn
March 15, 2022 5:05 am

What a joke!

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 4:25 pm

The joke or perhaps travesty is that so many people have been falsely indoctrinated to believe that planet warming has been significantly contributed to by the rising CO2. It is easy to calculate the water vapor increase from temperature increase and show that the measured WV is substantially greater.

TPW meas & calc H5 &5 29 RH thru Dec 2021 6.7 pc FB.jpg
roaddog
March 14, 2022 8:31 pm

So, nuclear war would unquestionably kill billions, but Robinson Meyer has far greater concern over entirely theoretical Climate Change which might threaten a far lesser number of people.

Yeah, Moron.

roaddog
Reply to  roaddog
March 14, 2022 8:36 pm

I really don’t think the percentage of lunatics in the population is today any higher than its ever been; but today they all have megaphones.

Clay Sanborn
March 14, 2022 9:44 pm

One Megaton – peanuts. On Oct, 1961, the 500 MegaTon Soviet Tsar Bomba aerial Hydrogen bomb was detonated inside the Arctic Circle of Russia. The scientists got leadership to ratchet back from 1000 Megatons, which was possible.
Video here: https://youtu.be/nbC7BxXtOlo?t=1310
Article here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a33797319/tsar-bomba-nuclear-explosion-russia-new-video/

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
March 15, 2022 5:06 am

That’s a big bomba!

Tom Abbott
March 15, 2022 3:02 am

From the article: “When we talk about what causes climate change, we usually talk about oil and gas, coal and cars, and—just generally—energy policy. There’s a good reason for this. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which enters the atmosphere, warms the climate, and … you know the drill. The more fossil fuels you burn, the worse climate change gets.”

Yes, we know the drill: You, and other alarmists claim CO2/fossil fuels cause the Earth’s climate to change, yet there is no evidence to back up this claim. It is just an unsubstantiated asserion/assumption.

Mr. Meyer couldn’t prove humans cause the climate to change if his life depended on doing so. Mr. Meyer has partaken of the Climate Change Koolaide. If Mr. Meyer would look a little deeper, he would see he is on very shaky ground when claiming he knows what CO2 will do in the Earth’s atmosphere. He doesn’t know, he just thinks he knows. And then he proceeds to mislead the public with his unsubstantiated take on things.

True Believers are such a pain.

Gunga Din
March 15, 2022 2:44 pm

I’m not in favor a minor nuclear war.
However, I have to wonder what would the difference on “the climate” from a “minor nuclear war” and the decades of testing nuclear weapons in the past?
What do they claim all those tests did to the climate?

CapitalistRoader
March 15, 2022 5:32 pm

A detonation of a bomb that size would, within about a four-mile radius, produce winds equal to that of President Biden’s long, loud fart while speaking with the Duchess of Cornwall at the COP26 summit.

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