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A Nuclear Winter's TaleScience and Politics in the 1980s$
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Lawrence Badash

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012720

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012720.001.0001

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Report after Report

Report after Report

(p.197) 14 Report after Report
A Nuclear Winter's Tale

Lawrence Badash

The MIT Press

On December 11, 1984, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued its final report on nuclear winter. The report was a vindication of sorts for Carl Sagan and his TTAPS team of Richard Turco, Owen Brian Toon, Thomas Ackerman, and James Pollack. The NAS concluded that nuclear-lofted dust could cause climatic problems, but the more serious was the shroud of smoke that could initially obscure 99 percent of sunlight over large areas. Those who argued that the NAS report validated the nuclear winter phenomenon also believed that it supported their long-held opposition to the nuclear arms race. The resumption of the much delayed arms-control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union in Geneva in January 1985 increased the public’s consciousness about nuclear weapons. The Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the United Nations, and the International Council of Scientific Unions’s Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment each released their own report on nuclear winter in 1985.

Keywords:   nuclear winter, National Academy of Sciences, Carl Sagan, dust, smoke, nuclear arms race, nuclear weapons, Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, United States, Soviet Union

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