An analysis of the potentially devastating consequences of nuclear war discusses the environmental impact of nuclear winter and proposes changes in international nuclear policies
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Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was the Director of Cornell University’s Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He played a leading role in the American space program and was an adviser to NASA since its inception. He briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo expeditions to the planets. He helped solve the mysteries of the high temperatures of Venus (answer: massive greenhouse effect), the seasonal changes on Mars (answer: windblown dust), and the reddish haze of Titan (answer: complex organic molecules). For his work, Dr. Sagan received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for The Dragons of Eden. His 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage won the Emmy and Peabody awards. The National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science... his gifts to mankind were infinite.”From Library Journal:
This comprehensive examination of the phenomenon of nuclear winter serves as a sequel of sorts to Paul Ehrlich and others' The Cold and the Dark: The World After Nuclear War ( LJ 9/1/84) and the source book Environmental Consequences of a Nuclear War (Wiley, 1986). The authors provide updated information about the global climate and nuclear war's likely impact on it. They debunk the contention that strategic policies should not be decided on the basis of a mere theory, pointing out that policy is always made on the basis of incomplete information, and that the levels of knowledge about the environmental effects of nuclear war are at least comparable to that in many other policy areas. Though not likely to attract the attention of the media at a time when concerns about nuclear war are now treated as "old hat," the book is nevertheless an important reminder that nuclear war is an issue of supreme ecological importance. After all, as the authors remind us, the superpowers have yet to eliminate more than a tiny fraction of their nuclear stockpiles.
- Jennifer Scarlott, World Policy Inst., New York
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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