A conflict involving nuclear weapons would cause mass humanitarian and environmental devastation. As long as nuclear weapons exist, this threat will persist.
In Australia and the Marshall Islands, British and American nuclear weapons testing has left a legacy of cancer and birth defects in Indigenous communities. We know the effects of dropping just one nuclear bomb on a city because of the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In Hiroshima alone, around 140,000 people were killed within a few hours of the bomb being dropped, with tens of thousands more dying later from the effects of radiation sickness, burns and other injuries.
There are nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world right now, most of them considerably more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Studies show that even a “limited” nuclear war, fought with 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons, would cause a sharp drop in global temperatures and rainfall lasting years. This would make food production impossible in some regions, leading to a global famine which could put two billion people at risk of starvation.
Scottish banks, pension funds and universities have a choice “either to contribute to the end of nuclear weapons, or to provide the financing that will allow nuclear weapons to end us” (Beatrice Fihn, ICAN Director).