Action needed on nuclear threat

NICK WILSON
Last updated 10:19 21/02/2013

Relevant offers

Comment

Corporate world makes no bones about selling to kids Editorial: Cloudy economy turning poll personal Editorial: Key must press Collins on leak Wailing against the politics of douche baggery How easy it is to subvert democracy Editorial: Time for intervention without illusions Dirty tactics, or just politics at play? Editorial: Questions linger after Hager book Politics is a sleazy business - regardless of who is in power Editorial: Campaign antics only half of it

OPINION: New Zealand needs to take a lead role on global nuclear disarmament, writes Nick Wilson.

Reports about North Korea detonating a nuclear device have again highlighted the threat posed by nuclear weapons and nuclear war.

The impact of even a "limited" nuclear war would be catastrophic for New Zealanders no matter where in the world the incident happened.

What can New Zealanders do about eliminating this threat?

For a start, eliminating nuclear weapons from the nine countries that possess them is a practical and effective way of protecting the world from this danger.

This is why the public need to get behind their government officials and representatives of civil society organisations who are attending a conference, hosted in Oslo on March 4-5 by the Norwegian Government, on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

Despite a finding by the Red Cross that the use of nuclear weapons violates the principles of international humanitarian law, nuclear states persist in programmes to modernise nuclear weapons and missiles.

Stockpiles of nuclear materials in countries with nuclear power generation are accumulating and can be used to make new weapons or can be stolen by terrorists. Some nuclear states suffer from internal instability - there have been multiple attacks by militants on Pakistan's nuclear weapons facilities.

New research on the potential climate effects of a regional nuclear incident shows that a relatively "limited" nuclear war between India and Pakistan would push vast amounts of black carbon smoke into the atmosphere.

This would block sunlight and lower temperatures to below that in the "Little Ice Age" (1400-1850).

The current global population means hundreds of millions would be at risk and many would not receive help.

A Red Cross study shows there is no adequate international capacity to assist the victims of a nuclear war.

Given that New Zealand is respected internationally for its nuclear-free legislation, we are well placed to take action on nuclear disarmament. We can do this by taking a leading role in the Oslo conference and by taking other diplomatic moves to end the nuclear weapons menace.

It's an opportunity to reframe the nuclear weapons issue as an extremely serious threat to humanity and progress action towards an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Dr Nick Wilson is from the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, (IPPNW).

A public seminar, Nuclear Weapons, New Zealand and Norway, is being held at 6pm today at the National Library (Aitken St entrance).

Ad Feedback

targetnuclearweapons.org.nz

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Do you think schools should be allowed to seize and search students' smartphones in cases of bullying?

Yes.

No.

Vote Result

Related story: Law will allow seizure of phones

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content