Climate change and global warming are easily the greatest existential threats humanity has ever faced. Scientists estimate that the effects will not only soon become irreversible, but begin to compound and become unstoppable, leaving Earth an uninhabitable husk and humanity a fleeting thought in the grand scheme of the universe. Our summers will lengthen, our plants will shrivel, our livestock will die, the air will become unbreathable, and the surface will become uninhabitable. Every option put forth by politicians seems to be a 40- or 50-year long plan that will barely make a dent in emissions by the time we reach the point of no return. I, however, propose to you that the solution is not only simple, but that the tools are readily available to multiple world governments, and that the effects would be almost immediate! Ladies, gentlemen, and those beyond the gender binary, I propose to you that we can quickly, easily, and thoroughly reverse the effects of global warming by initiating a nuclear winter.
Global warming is the average rise in global temperatures caused by human activities. While some people believe that global warming is part of the natural cadence of the earth’s natural climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that human activity is extremely likely the cause of global warming. Either way, the Earth is warming at an alarming rate and its effects are felt every year. Warming causes the world’s ice caps to melt, resulting in rising sea levels, fiercer storms, changes in precipitation levels, and the release of dormant microbes and diseases. In addition to all this, warming leads to deserts expanding, wildfires growing more frequent, a decrease in crop yields, not to mention the estimated 2000 species that go extinct each year. The goal of policy like the Paris Climate Agreement is to ensure we don’t reach a two-degree change in the global temperature, a point where climate change would have catastrophic effects on almost every aspect of our life. While well-intentioned, pieces of policy like these have no teeth, no way to enforce the agreement. In 2017, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the US withdrew from the agreement, making it one of two countries not in the accord—the other being Syria, a country in the midst of civil war. Barring the social consequences, there were no repercussions towards the administration for withdrawing. Furthermore, we know for a fact that 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of emissions. Companies like China Coal, Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, and Shell put out insane amounts of emissions yet suffer no consequences and don’t seem to answer to any official body. With the world growing warmer and no one doing anything to stop it anytime soon, the future looks bleak. Fear not, however, as I have a solution.
There are almost 14,000 nuclear warheads in the world (that we know of), with almost 4000 being active at any one time (again, that we know of). While climate change is the existential threat that looms in the back of the minds of our generation, the threat of nuclear annihilation was the horrifying doom that haunted our parent’s generation. Those neat little fireworks that can level anything from a city to an area the size of Texas are so common and prevalent that we have enough to reshape the surface of the planet. These weapons of mass destruction are easily accessible to the leaders of their respective arsenals, a list of people that includes Donald Trump, Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Nahendra Modi—all respectable and stable world leaders. By taking all these spicy little fireworks and loading ’em up into one spot that no one cares about — let’s say AT&T stadium — and set ‘em all off. Now, one would think that this many nukes blowing up in one spot would crack the planet in half, but this is not the case. Upon detonation, the force of millions upon millions of tons of TNT will blow everything within about 10 kilometers sky high, spreading dirt, debris, and the worst football team in America into the atmosphere. This dirt cloud (dloud, if you will) would quickly make its way around the world, covering the sun and blocking heat from reaching the earth creating the proverbial winter Reagan voters feared so much. The effects would be much quicker than any 50 year plan that politicians keep prescribing, and would be logistically easier to accomplish than, say, shutting down ExxonMobil or changing our entire way of life to revolve around one of the many available sustainable energy sources.
Sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid struck the gulf of Mexico and killed all the dinosaurs. The asteroid itself killed many, but the resulting ash cloud covered the atmosphere and cooled the tropical earth, and killed the cold blooded dinosaurs, making way for the warm blooded and adaptable mammals to take over the earth. A giant nuclear explosion would have the same effect, throwing tons of aerosolized dirt, concrete, and rubble into the air, protecting everyone from that oh-so-harmful sun and cooling the earth. Not only would the explosion itself reduce carbon emissions in a manner that would make Genghis Khan jealous, but the new cool environment would restore climates to their pre-industrial levels. The Ice caps won’t just stop melting, but reverse and refreeze as all human industrial production ceases and the oceans freeze from the Arctic to the Hudson Bay. As snow returns to North America and Europe, kids will once again play in the glowing white snow (albeit glowing for a very specific reason). Unusually large monsoons, hurricanes and other natural disasters will return to their normal sizes and locations— New York City’s subway tunnels are once again safe. The sea level will stabilize and the decrease in human activity in the ocean will stem its acidity, not to mention the most likely positive mutations that will occur to sea fauna — overfishing can’t be a problem if there’s fewer people and bigger fish. As the poles of the Earth cool, animals will forego their migration towards the north or south, and return to their natural habitats. While humans will have to adapt to a new world with no electricity and mutated megafauna that could tear us limb from limb, the Earth around us will thrive and grow off the radiation in the atmosphere and the decrease in pollution and emissions (yes, I am basing my science off of Godzilla, why do you ask?).
Since 1760, humankind has thrown industry into overdrive, paying no attention to its effects on the environment. At the same time, our governments have spent the last 80 years hoarding weapons of mass destruction that could only lead to the end of mankind. With so much fiction surrounding a nuclear end, from the Fallout games to movies like The Road, it’s clear that the fear of these weapons is deeply ingrained in our culture, so why not, instead of destroying each other with these weapons, use them for good?