Report: Nuclear War Could Spark Global Famine

Photo: Getty Images [via Science]

The Facts

  • A study published in the journal Nature Food on Mon. indicates that all-out nuclear war could spark worldwide famine, potentially putting 5B - 75% of the global population - "on the brink of death" and more than 99% in much of Europe, Russia and China.

  • This comes as some geopolitical experts assess the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as among the three "most worrisome" moments in history related to the threat of nuclear war, behind only the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1983 "Able Archer" incident between the USSR and NATO.


The Spin

Narrative A

The risks of a nuclear war are at an all-time high as the war in Ukraine rages on, tensions mount between the West and China, and both Iran and North Korea are developing their nuclear capabilities. More must be done to raise awareness, and NATO must work hand-in-hand with China and Russia to prevent a nuclear armageddon - the consequences for our planet and humanity would be catastrophic.

Narrative B

It is unlikely that a full-scale nuclear war would lead to all-out human extinction, and some of the metrics used are likely overstated. Humanity is in a decidedly safer nuclear space than during the depths of the Cold War. Our species should work to be resilient to many different types of threats, not just unlikely nuclear annihilation.

Nerd narrative

There's a 30% chance that there will be a nuclear weapon detonation as an act of war before 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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