WHY HAVE A BACK FROM THE BRINK RESOLUTION?

  • A Nuclear War Would Have Devastating Humanitarian and Environmental Consequences

  • The Risk of Nuclear War Is Increasing

  • We Are On the Brink of a New Nuclear Arms Race

  • Nuclear Weapons are Expensive

  • The “Back” from the Brink Campaign Endorses the UN Ban on Nuclear Weapons

  • Other US Cities Making Nuclear Free Contracts and Investments

A Nuclear War Would Have Devastating Humanitarian and Environmental Consequences

We know from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings that a single small nuclear weapon detonation over a large city would result in a huge loss of human life as well as casualties that would overwhelm all available medical resources.

But perhaps more serious and long lasting is the climate disruption that could result from the use of nuclear weapons. Recent computer climate models have shown that a limited nuclear war using less than 0.03% of the world’s nuclear arsenal could lead to the immediate deaths of 20 billion. It could also result in global cooling lasting 10 years with resultant crop failures and the starvation of 2 billion people.

 
B-61_bomb_rack - dod.jpg

The Risk of Nuclear War Is Increasing

There are nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons worldwide. The risk of accidental or intentional use of nuclear bombs has increased due to the spread of these weapons to 7 states besides US and Russia. There have been numerous instances of accidents leading to near-detonation and miscommunications leading to near-war. Terrorist groups have repeatedly tried to procure nuclear weapons and cyber-terrorism is on the rise.

Increased geopolitical conflicts between nuclear states such as the North Korea and the US over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the India-Pakistan conflict over water rights further increase the risk of their use.

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Photo illustration:  Yahoo News ; photos: AP (2), Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images, Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP (2), Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images, Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

We Are On the Brink of a New Nuclear Arms Race

In October of 2018, President Trump announced he would pull out of the Intermediate - range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty negotiated by President Reagan and Premier Gorbachev in 1987. This treaty led to steep reductions in intermediate range nuclear weapons and set the stage for reductions in long range weapons. The world nuclear arsenal of 15,000 today is one fourth of what it was in 1987.

Pulling out of the INF Treaty would threaten the New Start Treaty of 2010, which has led to further reductions in US and Russian long range nuclear forces. We would be on the road to a new, increasingly dangerous nuclear arms race.

 

Nuclear Weapons are Expensive

2017 Madison, Wisconsin Nuclear Weapons Tax Expenditure Maintenance = $54 million.

2017 Wisconsin Nuclear Weapons Tax Expenditure Maintenance = $1 billion

2017 United States Nuclear Weapons Tax Expenditure Maintenance = $63 billion. Learn more >>

Estimated Cost of Nuclear Weapon Enhancement = of $1.7 trillion or $57 billion per year or $6.5 million per hour for next 30 yearsLearn more >>

Estimated Cost of Nuclear Weapons Cleanup = $377 billion in 1/2019 report by the General Accounting Office.  Learn more >>

  • For $57 billion per year (the cost of nuclear weapon enhancement) we could:provide 80% of the funding needed to make community college tuition-free for US students from all income levels or 4 year public college tuition-free for mid to low income students at a cost of $70 billion per year. See article >>

  • provide 38% of the $150 billion per year needed to provide the world with clean water. See article >>

  • provide 21% of the $267 billion per year needed to end world poverty and hunger. See article >>

 
Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP  Source:  Treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at UN

Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

Source: Treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at UN

The “Back” from the Brink Campaign Endorses the UN Ban on Nuclear Weapons

The UN passed a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty in July of 2017. It is likely that at least 50 states will ratify the Treaty and it will become international law within the next several years. The 9 nuclear states that did not sign the Treaty will come under pressure to disarm.

In September 2017, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) organized the “Back from the Brink” campaign in support of the UN Treaty.  The campaign has slowly been gaining momentum. It calls on the US to embrace the 2017 United Nations Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty by actively pursuing a verifiable agreement with other nuclear-armed states to eliminate nuclear arsenals AND to:

•        End the president's sole, unchecked authority to launch a (preemptive) nuclear attack.

•        Renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first.

•        Take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.

•        Cancel the plan to replace the entire U.S. arsenal with enhanced weapons.  Learn more >>

The US Conference of Mayors endorsed a Back from the Brink Resolution in June 2018; Mayor Soglin was one of its sponsors. In the last 18 months, 25 cities, including Baltimore, MD, Ithaca, NY, Des Moines, IA, Los Angeles, CA. and the state of California have passed Back From the Brink resolutions. It is currently being introduced in four state legislatures.

 

Nuclear Free Contracts and Investments Across the US

A number of cities around the country have also passed resolutions that commit them to nuclear weapons-free contracts and investments. The cities of Takoma Park, MD and Oakland, CA divested in nuclear weapons over 25 years ago. Arcata, CA divested in 2005. The city council of Cambridge, MA voted to divest in nuclear weapons in 2016. In the last year, Ojai, CA and Northampton, MA have voted to divest in nuclear weapons.