Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bombing Over There Allows U.S. To Ignore The Effects On Our Shared Planet #Hiroshima

Source: JF Ptak Science Books, archival newspaper for sale

A major reason that people in the U.S. tolerate decades of bombing civilians at their expense is that, in their minds, the explosions, pollution and death happen "over there."

Take the immense environmental crime that occurred 70 years ago today, the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshima, Japan.

That the Japanese were on the point of surrender is now a documented historical fact. Their own war machine was crushed and their civilian will or even ability to continue fighting had been much reduced by starvation and the fire bombing of other locations.

But the U.S. was looking down the road at its frenemy the U.S.S.R., and a show of strength in the form of a weapon more destructive and deadly than anything yet conceived was ordered.
A show of scientific prowess in weaponry is why Nagasaki was bombed with a different type of nuclear bomb just two days after Hiroshima. When the surrender of imperial Japan was really, really imminent. 

Of course Japan was a rapacious force that had sneak attacked the U.S. military at Pearl Harbor (except the attack wasn't actually a surprise). Its military had raped, murdered and burned a path through East Asia and the South Pacific for decades. The U.S. could count on public opinion to tolerate if not support any hell that rained down on Japanese heads.

In 1945 it was easier to believe that the planet we live on actually had zones that were remote from one another, and that what happened in one hemisphere did not affect the climate and overall health of people all over the world. 

Source: "20 Countries the U.S. Has Bombed Since WWII" by Jennifer Markert, 10/18/14
You would think that now, in 2015, we could no longer engage in that particular illusion. Yet the effect on climate change of our frequent bombing of other countries is treated as if it didn't exist. 

Blogger Robert Scribbler on the climate effects of wildfires that have increased in the 21st century:
Lofting large amounts of brown carbon into the Jet Stream level of the atmosphere is an amplifying feedback to human-caused warming. One occurring in addition to the added rate of carbon release generated by these wildfires as well as to a transient negative feedback coming from generating thick, low level clouds, that block out sunlight.  
High level clouds alone aid in the heating of the Earth — allowing visible sunlight to penetrate while trapping long rave radiation rebounding from the Earth’s surface. Painting these clouds dark through brown carbon smoke particulate emission into the upper atmosphere provides an added heat kick by further lowering cloud albedo and by re-radiating an overall greater portion of the transient heat. As a final insult, the brown carbon aloft eventually precipitates down to the surface. When such precipitation lands on ice sheets and northern hemisphere snow cover, it darkens the snow and enhances melt. A kind of ominous global warming fallout.
The macabre silver lining for climate change in the nuclear weapons era ushered in by Hiroshima? Even a "limited, regional" nuclear bombing would decelerate global warming rapidly. Per a 2013 study by the International Red Cross:
Recent environmental research using previously unavailable climate modeling techniques indicates that even a limited regional nuclear war could cause global climate cooling that would cut food production for many years and put one billion people at risk of starvation worldwide. 
This research also estimates that a large-scale nuclear war would create ice-age conditions likely to eliminate most of the human race. 

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