I used to believe, that a horrible nuclear winter would come after the nuclear World War IIIin which almost everyone dies. Then there would be so much radioactivity around, that almost every survivor would die. And then, that in a nuclear winter after, almost every double survivor would perish. It was a standard Cold War view and I was also stupid enough to believe it.
I don’t believe that anymore and I have several good reasons. Here’s a few. How come, people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki live normal lives? Why is no atomic desert in Japan where those atomic weapons were actually used? I acknowledge the horrific fate of ten of thousands and even hundred of thousands of people caught there in August 1945. But no nuclear desert there in the aftermath. How so, if the whole Earth would become a nuclear desert after using 10 thousand times more nuclear material on one million times greater area? How that could be? And then, after so many nuclear tests, when at least a few percent of the nuclear arsenal was already spent in the wild, how is that we can’t see something nasty happening as a result?
Frankly, I believe Carl Sagan was full of shit with this “nuclear winter” propaganda. Of course, we don’t want a nuclear war, but it wouldn’t throw as back to the stone age. Albert Einstein was often full of shit as well.
We had some sobering suggestions even back then. If the nuclear bomb is 1000 stronger, they told us, its killing radius is just 10 times bigger. Good to know, thank you!
And the radioactivity per Mt of TNT ratio falls if you use bigger bombs. Also good to know.
And then we have learned that a sub-kilometer wide asteroid outperforms all the nukes we posses – many, many times over.
I think, that there will be a nuclear war, if everything stays basically the same as it is today. Only a technological breakthrough may prevent it. This technological breakthrough may result in a swift victory without much fus, but it may also result in an even more horrific war than a nuclear one would be.
But if everything stays the same, there will be “some nuclear war to end all nuclear wars”. Except there will be sooner or later another nuclear war, a much greater one. This mess may go on for quite a long time, if everything stays the same.
And this stability of circumstances will not happen. The opportunity window for a nuclear war is closing, because of AI at least. Which by itself may trigger one, as Schwarzenegger in Terminator taught us decades ago.