By J C Suresh
TORONTO (IDN) – The State Senate of California, the most populous state in the United States, has adopted Assembly Joint Resolution 33 (AJR 33), which calls upon the federal government to embrace theTreaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of national security policy, and spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war.
In his testimony in support of AJR 33, Rick Wayman, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), a non-profit organization headquartered in Santa Barbara, said the Resolution comes when “we have a federal government that is choosing to spend over $100,000 per minute for the next 30 years on nuclear weapons upgrades. But it’s not just dollars that we’re squandering”.
The Resolution notes: The use of even a tiny fraction of these weapons could cause worldwide climate disruption and global famine; for example, as few as 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs, small by modern standards, would put at least five million tons of soot into the upper atmosphere and cause climate disruption across the planet, cutting food production and putting two billion people at risk of starvation.
A large-scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of people directly and cause unimaginable environmental damage and catastrophic climate disruption by dropping temperatures across the planet to levels not seen since the last ice age; under these conditions the vast majority of the human race would starve and it is possible we would become extinct as a species, the Resolution adds.
While the 122 nations that voted in favor of adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July 2017 at the United Nations were complying with their obligation to act, the U.S. was “shamefully hostile” to this process.
Whereas the vast majority of the world’s countries are moving forward to outlaw and stigmatize nuclear weapons possession, the U.S. is being left behind.
Wayman, who has worked closely with people around the world deeply impacted by nuclear weapons development, testing, and use, expects the nuclear ban treaty to strengthen the emerging legal norm against nuclear weapons.
“California, followed by the entire United States, must get on the right side of history. But more importantly, we must do everything in our power to eliminate nuclear weapons before they eliminate us. The Assembly and Senate of the State of California now have a unique opportunity to contribute to this noble goal,” he added.