There are two serious threats to all life on earth: climate change and nuclear war.
Both are existential. Both are preventable.
But while people rally around the world to thwart climate change, few focus on preventing nuclear war. Unfortunately, the nuclear threat is as high as it has been since the Cold War, and climate change and nuclear war are linked. We have already seen the ways nuclear tests have adversely affected our glaciers, ocean floors and wide swaths of the natural landscape.
Further, the resource instability created by climate change will increase the chance of regional and global conflicts. That will increase the chances of nuclear weapons use, which would, in turn, further devastate the environment.
The good news is that you can reinvigorate efforts to combat the nuclear threat. Since 1962, Council for a Livable World has supported and empowered leaders who are committed to preventing a nuclear catastrophe. But now, more than ever, we need you in this fight.
Together, we can ensure our planet stays livable.
The Nuclear Threat
Many people stopped paying attention to the nuclear threat after the Cold War ended. Unfortunately, the threat did not end when the Soviet Union dissolved. There are more than 13,000 nuclear weapons still in existence today, with the United States and Russia owning more than 90 percent of them. Furthermore, under the Trump Administration, the United States abrogated numerous arms control treaties and agreements, undoing the critical work of previous administrations to limit nuclear stockpiles and strategic deployments.
This is dangerous and reckless — so much so, that the makers of the Doomsday Clock have declared that we are now 100 seconds to midnight — the closest we’ve ever been.
This is not something to take lightly. The two nuclear weapons dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 killed or wounded, conservatively, 225,000 people. People were instantly vaporized, burned alive or crushed by collapsing buildings; others died within weeks from the effects of radiation poisoning and bone marrow disease. Years later, cancer rates spiked. And by today’s standards, those weapons are considered “small” — the weapons currently deployed on U.S. nuclear submarines are almost 30 times more powerful, and could destroy cities in seconds.
Make no mistake — there is no such thing as a “small” nuclear war. If even one of the United States’ nuclear weapons were used, many thousands would die.
Our Biggest Concerns:
- Under the Trump Administration, the United States began to build and deploy new and “more usable” nuclear weapons, but these new “low yield” weapons are still bigger than the weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- In 2018, then-President Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran deal, despite international observers and U.S. intelligence asserting that Iran is in compliance with the most intrusive inspection regime ever administered. The United States and Iran currently are stuck in a diplomatic stalemate over a possible revival of the deal.
- In 2019, the Trump Administration withdrew the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a Reagan-era deal that got rid of an entire class of weapons, leaving the New START treaty as the only remaining arms control agreement between the United States and Russia, who together possess 93% of the world’s nuclear weapons.
- Former President Trump’s unorthodox overtures to North Korea failed to produce substantive progress toward the goal of the denuclearization of North Korea, and tensions are again on the rise.
- While the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia was thankfully extended by the Biden administration in February 2021, continued talks are needed to prevent a dangerous new arms race.
- Tensions are escalating between Pakistan and India, who are both nuclear-armed.
- Russia’s new weapons are designed to evade the United States’ best defenses. Diplomacy must be prioritized to address these issues.
- Congress is abdicating its responsibilities to oversee Pentagon spending. The $738B approved in the FY2020 defense authorization act, and the $740B approved for FY2021, are unacceptably high.
- Smart policies like No First Use aren’t getting the public attention they deserve.
What We Do
Since 1962, Council for a Livable World has supported and empowered leaders who are committed to preventing a nuclear catastrophe. We have helped elect 400 members of Congress who have been instrumental in enacting key legislation to reduce global nuclear threats, including the New START Treaty, the INF Treaty, the Iran nuclear deal and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
Help Elect Members of Congress
We endorse candidates for the House and Senate who are supportive of principled national security and foreign policy positions, including nuclear arms control, based upon their voting records and answers to our questionnaire. In the 2020 election cycle, we helped raise $1.5 million for our endorsed candidates and helped elect our 400th Member of Congress — we hope to build on that great success in 2022.
Share Our Knowledge With Members Once Elected
Along with our sister organization, we educate Members of Congress and their staff on key issues and legislation they are considering. Backed by our unmatched reputation on Capitol Hill and our executive director, a nine-term Member of Congress, we advocate for policies that reduce the risk of nuclear war.
Push for Smarter Nuclear Policies
Since the election of President Joe Biden in 2020, we have been instrumental in organizing Members of Congress to undo the legacy of the Trump Administration on several dangerous policies, including pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal; recklessly increasing the Pentagon budget; and wanting to deploy a “low-yield” nuclear weapon. In addition, our team of lobbyists are actively working to engage Congress on a No First Use policy that would make it United States policy not to start a nuclear war. There are several bills in Congress right now that we support and are lobbying for on Capitol Hill. But in many cases, we’re going up against large international defense technology companies — who can afford many more lobbyists than we can. That’s why we need your help.
What You Can Do
Nuclear weapons policy has a tendency to overwhelm people and make them feel helpless and powerless. But bad policies continue when the public is unaware of the dangers they present, and we don’t think nuclear policy has to be complicated. Follow us, support us, and support our candidates. Together, we can change nuclear weapons policy, prevent the dangers it poses to the environment, and help save the world.
- Follow us at @livableworld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Join our email list to learn the latest on national security news, candidates we support, and the important work we do on Capitol Hill
- Donate to candidates who will prioritize smart nuclear arms control and diplomacy.
- Become a member to have the ability to donate to our PAC, which is used to support candidates in the most competitive races.
- Find out where your Member of Congress stands on key nuclear issues — and let them know that these issues matter to you.
- Ask candidates for office where they stand on these issues — and vote for candidates who take reducing nuclear threats seriously.