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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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(p.315) Epilogue
A Nuclear Winter's Tale

Lawrence Badash

The MIT Press

Nuclear winter did not seem to affect the policy of the Reagan administration. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it even disappeared from talks about strategy. The consequences of nuclear explosions were rarely mentioned, and only superficially. There was no evidence of climatic effects, suicidal action, or the demise of agriculture that were supposed to happen due to nuclear winter. Nuclear winter was also ignored in discussions about the diminished nuclear arms race. However, some nuclear winter scientists provided circumstantial evidence to support their claim that the issue actually had an impact on public policy. For example, they cited the peak in the number of nuclear warheads in the Soviet Union in 1986 and the slow decline of the American stockpile for many years. The overwhelming sense of the scientific community is that the nuclear winter phenomenon is possible.

Keywords:   nuclear winter, public policy, nuclear arms race, nuclear warheads, Soviet Union, scientists, nuclear explosions

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