UCSB ENVS 106 - Lecture 03 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 2_POST (18 pages)

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Lecture 03 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 2_POST



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This song makes light of the threat of nuclear war Many people don t like thinking about the threat or want to downplay it s significance Crawl Out Through the Fallout https www youtube com watch v 8XPzICHxXoQ Sheldon Allman 1960 Merchants of Doubt Chapter 2 Strategic Defense Phony Facts and the Creation of the George C Marshall Institute The Cold War 1947 1991 A state of geopolitical tension between the generally Western powers primarily the United States and Eastern Powers primarily the Soviet Union and its satellites No large scale conflict between the US Various backings of proxy wars among smaller countries e g Korea Vietnam Afghanistan Cuba Propaganda Campaigns Mutual Spying Arms Race the continual threat of Nuclear War The Americans is an Limiting Factor Mutually Assured Destruction MAD interesting TV series that 1970 s New Policy Approach d tente attempts to characterize Ease tensions promote trust limit reduce armsthe spy situation between the US and USSR Some hawks remain and do not like the idea of d tente the formation of Team B Strategic Defense Initiative Star Wars Install weapons in space that could destroy incoming ballistic missiles shielding the US from those forms of attack Some experts thought it was technically infeasible Some thought it would increase tension b w US and USSR During construction risk of nuclear war increases Shielded nation might strike Others thought it would undermine the anti nuclear weapons movements Carl Sagan y Leading popularizer of Science in the American Publiccommentoafrnucleaer s t c agan prospec chospa S n His TV Series Cosmos 1980 was deemed aClip o ding the le on Gau r rega s availab i watershed moment for science themed television war programming Promoted Environmental Awareness Challenged SDI Ineffective May provoke USSR Incite war Encourage further growth in the arms race if 10 of warheads get through you want more warheads Testing would require shooting missiles at ourselves Helped to launch a campaign to get scientists to boycott SDI funding Robert Jastrow Also a successful popularizer of Science An advocate for space missions and research Sagan s move to boycott infuriates Jastrow Argued that USSR was in a position of strategic superiority and was developing its own missile defense system USSR could bring all of Western Europe under Soviet hegemony A bit exaggerated No beam testing facilities Evidence that USSR tested non acoustic submarine detection systems but no evidence that these systems were deployed Conclusion The tests must have been successful and the Soviets deployed them without us knowing In line with CIA intelligence at the time interviews with Soviet leadership in 1995 confirmed that the USSR was to avoid nuclear weapons at all costs SDI Budget Passes Jastrow Team B and others prevail 60 billion budget approved by congress for SDI and successor program 175 billion today Why did the dinosaurs go extinct but mammals survive A Mammals eventually evolved bigger brains and social grouping which allowed them to outcompete dinosaurs for resources B An asteroid from space destroyed them but small mammals survived C A mass pandemic of the Sauro Virus killed them off but not mammals D Dinosaur Extinction The dinosaurs went extinct at least in part due to a meteor impact that created the Chicxulub crater The meteor released huge dust clouds in the atmosphere blocking the incoming sunlight and creating an intense deep freeze that destroyed the dinosaur food supply How much dust does it take Nuclear Winter Nuclear missiles are targeted at urban centers 5 000 megatons of explosive power over several spots on urban centers could result in fires particulates and dust A dust and particulate cloud over the Earth could destabilize the energy balance of the Earth resulting in less sunlight coming in This could put the Earth into a deep freeze or nuclear winter Carl Sagan helped start a team to analyze the possibility and results Nuclear Winter Minor Uncertainties Second Order effects Forests vs Urban fires Exactly how much cooling Major Takeaway First Order effects So large and implications so serious that there is definite risk of nuclear winter Peer Review Physicists biologists find the major results very convincing and disturbing Pre view published in popular Parade magazine results published in Science Nuclear Winter Various credible refinements and adjustments to the models initially showed less of a winter cold temperatures were not a 35 C reduction in global temperatures but closer to 10 20 C reduction Serious but not as devastating as the initial estimate One level The scientific process worked initial hypothesis research and finalized results after several years of study Results Not Good for Earth Another level Sagan s approach in popular political media violated scientific norms Charges of lack of scientific integrity resort to popular media before publication Jastrow Authors were willfully deceptive effects would be minor to negligible But the authors had mentioned mitigating effects in their paper Scientific Models Charges of lack of scientific exercise a failure to quantify the large uncertainties associated with estimates Oreskes and Conway All models are simplifications and accurate quantification of uncertainties about nuclear warfare is impossible without actually fighting the war The point of a model is to explore domains that can t be explored otherwise you build a model when you don t have access to the real thing for reasons of time space practicality cost or morality Sagan The research done by Sagan s team was scientific and passed initial peer review before publication in popular media Later results showed that the initial models had worse results Do you think Sagan should have gone to public political media A Yes This was an important issue and initial results even of some models with some uncertainties get something right Sagan s team was clearly working within Science and the process ended up right B No Initial results even after passing one level of peer review still need to be tested and reconfirmed using different models This takes time but Sagan inappropriately caused The George C Marshall Institute Envisioned as a counterweight to the Union of Concerned Scientists Jastrow Seitz and Nierenberg joined to found the Institute Retired physicists political hawks Cold War sons Goal Distribute materials write op eds train journalists and congressional staffers Urged balance on reports Jastrow need to


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