Nu­clear warfare

TagLast edit: 8 Jul 2022 18:59 UTC by Leo

Nuclear warfare is military conflict involving the deployment of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear war is potentially the primary near-term anthropogenic existential risk. Nuclear war would probably not cause human extinction through the direct damage of an exchange. Rather, researchers are concerned about the potential for a nuclear winter: firestorms caused by the explosions could release particulate matter into the stratosphere, causing significant global cooling which would last for several years. This cooling would disrupt global agriculture, which would likely kill many more people than the initial exchange.[1]

However, there is some disagreement about how climate systems would react to the particulate matter and how much soot would actually be created (modern cities are potentially less vulnerable to firestorms than those during the cold war). As a result, it is unclear whether nuclear war poses an existential risk or a non-existential global catastrophic risk.

Further reading

Baum, Seth D., Robert De Neufville & Anthony M. Barrett (2018) A model for the probability of nuclear war, working paper 18-1, Global Catastrophic Risk Institute.

Baum, Seth D. & Anthony M. Barrett (2018) A model for the impacts of nuclear war, working paper 18-2, Global Catastrophic Risk Institute.

Cirincione, Joseph (2008) The continuing threat of nuclear war, in Nick Bostrom & Milan M. Ćirković (eds.) Global Catastrophic Risks, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Open Philanthropy (2015) Nuclear weapons policy, Open Philanthropy, September.
A report exploring possible interventions to address risks from nuclear war.

Roser, Max (2022) Nuclear weapons: Why reducing the risk of nuclear war should be a key concern of our generation, Our World in Data, March 3.

Scouras, James (2021) On Assessing the Risk of Nuclear War, Laurel: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Related entries

armed conflict | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | civilizational collapse | Cuban Missile Crisis | existential risk | existential risk factor | Manhattan Project | nuclear disarmament movement | nuclear security | Nuclear Threat Initiative | nuclear winter | Russell-Einstein Manifesto | Trinity | weapons of mass destruction

  1. ^

    Robock, Alan (2010) Nuclear winter, WIREs Climate Change, vol. 1, pp. 418–427.

8 pos­si­ble high-level goals for work on nu­clear risk

MichaelA29 Mar 2022 6:30 UTC
46 points
4 comments13 min readEA link

Tech­nolog­i­cal de­vel­op­ments that could in­crease risks from nu­clear weapons: A shal­low review

MichaelA9 Feb 2023 15:41 UTC
78 points
3 comments5 min readEA link

Nu­clear risk re­search ideas: Sum­mary & introduction

MichaelA8 Apr 2022 11:17 UTC
100 points
4 comments7 min readEA link

Nu­clear Risk Overview: CERI Sum­mer Re­search Fellowship

Will Aldred27 Mar 2022 15:51 UTC
57 points
2 comments13 min readEA link

How bad would nu­clear win­ter caused by a US-Rus­sia nu­clear ex­change be?

Luisa_Rodriguez20 Jun 2019 1:48 UTC
132 points
16 comments40 min readEA link

Will the Treaty on the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Nu­clear Weapons af­fect nu­clear de­pro­lifer­a­tion through le­gal chan­nels?

Luisa_Rodriguez6 Dec 2019 10:38 UTC
100 points
5 comments30 min readEA link

Nu­clear war is un­likely to cause hu­man extinction

Jeffrey Ladish7 Nov 2020 5:39 UTC
45 points
24 comments11 min readEA link

Which nu­clear wars should worry us most?

Luisa_Rodriguez16 Jun 2019 23:31 UTC
102 points
13 comments5 min readEA link

New Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Grant­mak­ing Pro­gramme at Longview Philanthropy

Kit15 Mar 2022 14:47 UTC
148 points
4 comments3 min readEA link

Would US and Rus­sian nu­clear forces sur­vive a first strike?

Luisa_Rodriguez18 Jun 2019 0:28 UTC
84 points
4 comments19 min readEA link

Call me, maybe? Hotlines and Global Catas­trophic Risk [Founders Pledge]

christian.r24 Jan 2023 16:28 UTC
83 points
10 comments26 min readEA link

Overview of Re­think Pri­ori­ties’ work on risks from nu­clear weapons

MichaelA10 Jun 2021 18:48 UTC
43 points
1 comment3 min readEA link

How many peo­ple would be kil­led as a di­rect re­sult of a US-Rus­sia nu­clear ex­change?

Luisa_Rodriguez30 Jun 2019 3:00 UTC
94 points
17 comments43 min readEA link

How likely is a nu­clear ex­change be­tween the US and Rus­sia?

Luisa_Rodriguez20 Jun 2019 1:49 UTC
80 points
12 comments13 min readEA link

Event on Oct 9: Fore­cast­ing Nu­clear Risk with Re­think Pri­ori­ties’ Michael Aird

MichaelA29 Sep 2021 17:45 UTC
24 points
3 comments2 min readEA link

The Pen­tagon claims China will likely have 1,500 nu­clear war­heads by 2035

Will Aldred12 Dec 2022 18:12 UTC
34 points
3 comments2 min readEA link

AMA: Joan Rohlfing, Pres­i­dent and COO of the Nu­clear Threat Initiative

Joan Rohlfing6 Dec 2021 20:58 UTC
74 points
35 comments1 min readEA link

Up­dated es­ti­mates of the sever­ity of a nu­clear war

Luisa_Rodriguez19 Dec 2019 15:11 UTC
76 points
2 comments5 min readEA link

Samotsvety Nu­clear Risk up­date Oc­to­ber 2022

NunoSempere3 Oct 2022 18:10 UTC
262 points
52 comments16 min readEA link

Some global catas­trophic risk estimates

Tamay10 Feb 2021 19:32 UTC
106 points
14 comments1 min readEA link

[Question] EA views on the AUKUS se­cu­rity pact?

DavidZhang29 Sep 2021 8:24 UTC
25 points
13 comments1 min readEA link

[Question] Books /​ book re­views on nu­clear risk, WMDs, great power war?

MichaelA15 Dec 2020 1:40 UTC
15 points
16 comments1 min readEA link

Model­ing re­sponses to changes in nu­clear risk

Nathan_Barnard23 Jun 2022 12:50 UTC
7 points
0 comments5 min readEA link

The Pug­wash Con­fer­ences and the Anti-Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile Treaty as a case study of Track II diplomacy

rani_martin16 Sep 2022 10:42 UTC
82 points
5 comments27 min readEA link

Ja­cob Cates and Aron Mill: Scal­ing in­dus­trial food pro­duc­tion in nu­clear winter

EA Global18 Oct 2019 18:05 UTC
8 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Alli­ance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED) Progress Re­port & Giv­ing Tues­day Appeal

Denkenberger21 Nov 2018 5:20 UTC
21 points
3 comments8 min readEA link

Carl Shul­man on the com­mon-sense case for ex­is­ten­tial risk work and its prac­ti­cal implications

80000_Hours8 Oct 2021 13:43 UTC
41 points
2 comments150 min readEA link

[Question] What is the im­pact of the Nu­clear Ban Treaty?

DC29 Nov 2020 0:26 UTC
22 points
3 comments2 min readEA link

Free to at­tend: Cam­bridge Con­fer­ence on Catas­trophic Risk (19-21 April)

HaydnBelfield21 Mar 2022 13:23 UTC
19 points
2 comments1 min readEA link

ALLFED 2020 Highlights

AronM19 Nov 2020 22:06 UTC
50 points
5 comments27 min readEA link

Com­pe­ti­tion for “For­tified Es­says” on nu­clear risk

MichaelA17 Nov 2021 20:55 UTC
35 points
0 comments3 min readEA link

Nu­clear Ex­pert Com­ment on Samotsvety Nu­clear Risk Forecast

Jhrosenberg26 Mar 2022 9:22 UTC
128 points
13 comments16 min readEA link

China’s Z-Ma­chine, a test fa­cil­ity for nu­clear weapons

EdoArad13 Dec 2018 7:03 UTC
11 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

The Mys­tery of the Cuban mis­sile crisis

Nathan_Barnard5 May 2022 22:51 UTC
10 points
4 comments9 min readEA link

The Threat of Nu­clear Ter­ror­ism MOOC [link]

RyanCarey19 Oct 2017 12:31 UTC
7 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

EA is too fo­cused on the Man­hat­tan Project

trevor15 Sep 2022 2:00 UTC
14 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Early Reflec­tions and Re­sources on the Rus­sian In­va­sion of Ukraine

SethBaum18 Mar 2022 14:54 UTC
57 points
3 comments8 min readEA link

[Cross-post] A nu­clear war fore­cast is not a coin flip

David Johnston15 Mar 2022 4:01 UTC
28 points
12 comments3 min readEA link

[Notes] Steven Pinker and Yu­val Noah Harari in conversation

Ben9 Feb 2020 12:49 UTC
29 points
2 comments7 min readEA link

Nu­clear at­tack risk? Im­pli­ca­tions for per­sonal de­ci­sion-making

SebastianSchmidt27 Feb 2022 12:57 UTC
57 points
38 comments1 min readEA link

“Nu­clear risk re­search, fore­cast­ing, & im­pact” [pre­sen­ta­tion]

MichaelA21 Oct 2021 10:54 UTC
20 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Cost-Effec­tive­ness of Foods for Global Catas­tro­phes: Even Bet­ter than Be­fore?

Denkenberger19 Nov 2018 21:57 UTC
29 points
4 comments10 min readEA link

Peter Wilde­ford on Fore­cast­ing Nu­clear Risk and why EA should fund scal­able non-profits

Michaël Trazzi13 Apr 2022 16:29 UTC
9 points
1 comment3 min readEA link

[Question] What is the strongest case for nu­clear weapons?

Garrison12 Apr 2022 19:32 UTC
6 points
3 comments1 min readEA link

Rus­sia-Ukraine Con­flict: Fore­cast­ing Nu­clear Risk in 2022

Metaculus24 Mar 2022 21:03 UTC
23 points
1 comment12 min readEA link

ALLFED 2019 An­nual Re­port and Fundrais­ing Appeal

AronM23 Nov 2019 2:05 UTC
42 points
12 comments22 min readEA link

Seth Baum: Rec­on­cil­ing in­ter­na­tional security

EA Global8 Jun 2018 7:15 UTC
8 points
0 comments16 min readEA link

Notes on “The Myth of the Nu­clear Revolu­tion” (Lie­ber & Press, 2020)

Darius124 May 2022 15:02 UTC
42 points
3 comments20 min readEA link

Risks from the UK’s planned in­crease in nu­clear warheads

Matt Goodman15 Aug 2021 20:14 UTC
23 points
8 comments2 min readEA link

Nu­clear Strat­egy in a Semi-Vuln­er­a­ble World

Jackson Wagner28 Jun 2021 17:35 UTC
27 points
0 comments18 min readEA link

An­nounc­ing the Nu­clear Risk Fore­cast­ing Tournament

MichaelA16 Jun 2021 16:12 UTC
38 points
0 comments2 min readEA link

Samotsvety Nu­clear Risk Fore­casts — March 2022

NunoSempere10 Mar 2022 18:52 UTC
155 points
54 comments5 min readEA link

Are you re­ally in a race? The Cau­tion­ary Tales of Szilárd and Ellsberg

HaydnBelfield19 May 2022 8:42 UTC
441 points
43 comments18 min readEA link

Fi­nal Re­port of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Com­mis­sion on Ar­tifi­cial In­tel­li­gence (NSCAI, 2021)

MichaelA1 Jun 2021 8:19 UTC
51 points
3 comments4 min readEA link

9/​26 is Petrov Day

Lizka25 Sep 2022 23:14 UTC
62 points
10 comments2 min readEA link

Have we un­der­es­ti­mated the risk of a NATO-Rus­sia nu­clear war? Can we do any­thing about it?

TopherHallquist9 Jul 2015 16:09 UTC
8 points
20 comments1 min readEA link

Luisa Ro­driguez: The like­li­hood and sever­ity of a US-Rus­sia nu­clear exchange

EA Global18 Oct 2019 18:05 UTC
10 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Get­ting Nu­clear Policy Right Is Hard

Gentzel19 Sep 2017 1:00 UTC
16 points
4 comments1 min readEA link

Key points from The Dead Hand, David E. Hoffman

Kit9 Aug 2019 13:59 UTC
71 points
8 comments8 min readEA link

The chance of ac­ci­den­tal nu­clear war has been go­ing down

Peter Wildeford31 May 2022 14:48 UTC
66 points
6 comments1 min readEA link

Some AI Gover­nance Re­search Ideas

MarkusAnderljung3 Jun 2021 10:51 UTC
92 points
5 comments2 min readEA link

Carl Ro­bichaud: Fac­ing the risk of nu­clear war in the 21st century

EA Global15 Jul 2020 17:17 UTC
13 points
0 comments11 min readEA link

[Question] Pro­jects tack­ling nu­clear risk?

Sanjay29 May 2020 22:41 UTC
29 points
3 comments1 min readEA link

Book re­view: The Dooms­day Machine

eukaryote10 Sep 2018 1:43 UTC
43 points
6 comments5 min readEA link

Notes on Schel­ling’s “Strat­egy of Con­flict” (1960)

MichaelA29 Jan 2021 8:56 UTC
20 points
4 comments8 min readEA link

Should we be spend­ing no less on al­ter­nate foods than AI now?

Denkenberger29 Oct 2017 23:28 UTC
38 points
9 comments16 min readEA link

Why those who care about catas­trophic and ex­is­ten­tial risk should care about au­tonomous weapons

aaguirre11 Nov 2020 17:27 UTC
101 points
31 comments15 min readEA link

How bad could a war get?

Stephen Clare4 Nov 2022 9:25 UTC
122 points
10 comments9 min readEA link

Nu­clear Fine-Tun­ing: How Many Wor­lds Have Been De­stroyed?

Ember17 Aug 2022 13:13 UTC
16 points
28 comments23 min readEA link

[EAG talk] The like­li­hood and sever­ity of a US-Rus­sia nu­clear ex­change (Ro­driguez, 2019)

Will Aldred3 Jul 2022 13:53 UTC
32 points
0 comments2 min readEA link

Notes on ‘Atomic Ob­ses­sion’ (2009)

lukeprog26 Oct 2019 0:30 UTC
62 points
16 comments8 min readEA link

What is the like­li­hood that civ­i­liza­tional col­lapse would di­rectly lead to hu­man ex­tinc­tion (within decades)?

Luisa_Rodriguez24 Dec 2020 22:10 UTC
280 points
37 comments50 min readEA link

Does the US nu­clear policy still tar­get cities?

Jeffrey Ladish2 Oct 2019 17:46 UTC
32 points
0 comments10 min readEA link

What’s the big deal about hy­per­sonic mis­siles?

jia18 May 2020 7:17 UTC
40 points
9 comments5 min readEA link

Notes on “The Bomb: Pres­i­dents, Gen­er­als, and the Se­cret His­tory of Nu­clear War” (2020)

MichaelA6 Feb 2021 11:10 UTC
18 points
5 comments8 min readEA link

The Nu­clear Threat Ini­ti­a­tive is not only nu­clear—notes from a call with NTI

Sanjay26 Jun 2020 17:29 UTC
29 points
2 comments7 min readEA link

One Hun­dred Opinions on Nu­clear War (Ladish, 2019)

Will Aldred29 Dec 2022 20:23 UTC
12 points
0 comments3 min readEA link

Google Maps nuke-mode

AndreFerretti31 Jan 2023 21:37 UTC
11 points
6 comments1 min readEA link

Philan­thropy to the Right of Boom [Founders Pledge]

christian.r14 Feb 2023 17:08 UTC
81 points
11 comments20 min readEA link

An­nounc­ing the first is­sue of Asterisk

Clara Collier21 Nov 2022 18:51 UTC
275 points
47 comments1 min readEA link

[Book] On Assess­ing the Risk of Nu­clear War

Aryeh Englander7 Jul 2022 21:08 UTC
25 points
2 comments8 min readEA link

Op­por­tu­ni­ties that sur­prised us dur­ing our Clearer Think­ing Re­grants program

spencerg7 Nov 2022 13:09 UTC
114 points
5 comments9 min readEA link

Sixty years af­ter the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis, a new era of global catas­trophic risks

christian.r13 Oct 2022 11:25 UTC
31 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Nu­clear Es­pi­onage and AI Governance

GAA4 Oct 2021 18:21 UTC
32 points
3 comments24 min readEA link

Why I think there’s a one-in-six chance of an im­mi­nent global nu­clear war

Tegmark8 Oct 2022 23:25 UTC
50 points
24 comments1 min readEA link

Database of ex­is­ten­tial risk estimates

MichaelA15 Apr 2020 12:43 UTC
124 points
37 comments5 min readEA link

An­nounc­ing In­sights for Impact

Christian Pearson4 Jan 2023 7:00 UTC
79 points
4 comments1 min readEA link

Is any­one else also get­ting more wor­ried about hard take­off AGI sce­nar­ios?

JonCefalu9 Jan 2023 6:04 UTC
19 points
11 comments3 min readEA link

EA on nu­clear war and expertise

bean28 Aug 2022 4:59 UTC
150 points
17 comments4 min readEA link

[Question] How many times would nu­clear weapons have been used if ev­ery state had them since 1950?

eca4 May 2021 15:34 UTC
16 points
13 comments1 min readEA link

Shal­low Re­port on Nu­clear War (Abol­ish­ment)

Joel Tan (CEARCH)18 Oct 2022 7:36 UTC
33 points
14 comments18 min readEA link

[Question] How can we de­crease the short-term prob­a­bil­ity of the nu­clear war?

Just Learning1 Mar 2022 3:24 UTC
18 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

2021 ALLFED Highlights

Ross_Tieman17 Nov 2021 15:24 UTC
45 points
1 comment16 min readEA link

The fu­ture of nu­clear war

turchin21 May 2022 8:00 UTC
34 points
2 comments35 min readEA link

What Are The Biggest Threats To Hu­man­ity? (A Hap­pier World video)

Jeroen Willems31 Jan 2023 19:50 UTC
17 points
1 comment15 min readEA link

An­nounc­ing Me­tac­u­lus’s ‘Red Lines in Ukraine’ Fore­cast­ing Project

christian21 Oct 2022 22:13 UTC
17 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

[Question] What are the best ways to en­courage de-es­ca­la­tion in re­gards to Ukraine?

oh543219 Oct 2022 11:15 UTC
13 points
4 comments1 min readEA link

Pro­posal for a Nu­clear Off-Ramp Toolkit

Stan Pinsent29 Nov 2022 16:02 UTC
15 points
0 comments3 min readEA link

The NPT: Learn­ing from a Longter­mist Suc­cess [Links!]

DannyBressler20 May 2021 0:39 UTC
66 points
6 comments2 min readEA link

Shal­low Re­port on Nu­clear War (Arse­nal Limi­ta­tion)

Joel Tan (CEARCH)21 Feb 2023 4:57 UTC
45 points
9 comments28 min readEA link

Ar­tifi­cial In­tel­li­gence and Nu­clear Com­mand, Con­trol, & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions: The Risks of Integration

Peter Rautenbach18 Nov 2022 13:01 UTC
59 points
3 comments50 min readEA link

Re­search ex­er­cise: 5-minute in­side view on how to re­duce risk of nu­clear war

Emrik23 Oct 2022 12:42 UTC
16 points
2 comments6 min readEA link

The dan­ger of nu­clear war is greater than it has ever been. Why donat­ing to and sup­port­ing Back from the Brink is an effec­tive re­sponse to this threat

astupple2 Aug 2022 2:31 UTC
14 points
8 comments5 min readEA link

2023 Stan­ford Ex­is­ten­tial Risks Conference

elizabethcooper24 Feb 2023 17:49 UTC
29 points
5 comments1 min readEA link

How much should gov­ern­ments pay to pre­vent catas­tro­phes? Longter­mism’s limited role

EJT19 Mar 2023 16:50 UTC
240 points
32 comments35 min readEA link

Sum­mary of Ma­jor En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pacts of Nu­clear Winter

Isabel9 Jul 2022 6:23 UTC
7 points
0 comments23 min readEA link

Con­flict and poverty (or should we tackle poverty in nu­clear con­texts more?)

Sanjay6 Mar 2020 21:59 UTC
13 points
0 comments7 min readEA link

Na­ture: Nu­clear war be­tween two na­tions could spark global famine

Tyner15 Aug 2022 20:55 UTC
15 points
1 comment1 min readEA link

Why Don’t We Use Chem­i­cal Weapons Any­more?

Dale23 Apr 2020 1:25 UTC
28 points
4 comments3 min readEA link

Luisa Ro­driguez: How to do em­piri­cal cause pri­ori­ti­za­tion re­search

EA Global21 Nov 2020 8:12 UTC
6 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Be­ing the per­son who doesn’t launch nukes: new EA cause?

MichaelDickens6 Aug 2022 3:44 UTC
9 points
4 comments1 min readEA link

Over­re­act­ing to cur­rent events can be very costly

Kelsey Piper4 Oct 2022 21:30 UTC
280 points
71 comments4 min readEA link

Cen­tre for Ex­plo­ra­tory Altru­ism Re­search (CEARCH)

Joel Tan (CEARCH)18 Oct 2022 7:23 UTC
122 points
15 comments5 min readEA link

Bu­gout Bags for Disasters

Fin8 Mar 2022 17:03 UTC
10 points
0 comments4 min readEA link

The es­tab­lished nuke risk field de­serves more engagement

Ilverin4 Jul 2022 19:39 UTC
17 points
12 comments1 min readEA link

EA re­silience to catas­tro­phes & ALLFED’s case study

Sonia_Cassidy23 Mar 2022 7:03 UTC
84 points
9 comments13 min readEA link

Re­duc­ing Nu­clear Risk Through Im­proved US-China Relations

Metaculus21 Mar 2022 11:50 UTC
31 points
19 comments5 min readEA link

Kris­tian Rönn: Global challenges

EA Global11 Aug 2017 8:19 UTC
7 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Mili­tary Ar­tifi­cial In­tel­li­gence as Con­trib­u­tor to Global Catas­trophic Risk

MMMaas27 Jun 2022 10:35 UTC
40 points
0 comments54 min readEA link

Should Effec­tive Altru­ism be at war with North Korea?

BenHoffman5 May 2019 1:44 UTC
−12 points
8 comments5 min readEA link

Nu­clear Pre­pared­ness Guide

Fin8 Mar 2022 17:04 UTC
103 points
13 comments11 min readEA link

Best Coun­tries dur­ing Nu­clear War

AndreFerretti4 Mar 2022 11:19 UTC
7 points
15 comments1 min readEA link

Open Let­ter Against Reck­less Nu­clear Es­ca­la­tion and Use

Vasco Grilo3 Nov 2022 15:08 UTC
10 points
2 comments1 min readEA link

Book re­view: The Dooms­day Machine

LRudL18 Aug 2021 22:15 UTC
21 points
0 comments16 min readEA link

Pod­cast: Samo Burja on the war in Ukraine, avoid­ing nu­clear war and the longer term implications

Gus Docker11 Mar 2022 18:50 UTC
4 points
6 comments15 min readEA link

4 Years Later: Pres­i­dent Trump and Global Catas­trophic Risk

HaydnBelfield25 Oct 2020 16:28 UTC
23 points
9 comments10 min readEA link