Nuclear weapons can kill thousands of people upon impact, and their lingering effects create even more harm. Kennette Benedict, a Bulletin of Atomic Scientists senior adviser, and Nobuyasu Abe, the commissioner of Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, wrote in the report that nuclear explosions could trigger a "nuclear winter," where a massive amount of dust and sulfates could conceal the Sun and cool the Earth for years. One model suggests the use of 4,000 nuclear weapons would release 150 teragrams of smoke, which is enough to lower global temperatures by 8 degrees for four or five years. The world's largest nuclear arsenals, located in the United States and Russia, each have about 7,000 warheads. Benedict and Abe wrote that it would be very difficult to grow food during this time, and chaos would follow amid a widespread famine. Nuclear weapons are complicated and made of rare materials, but biological and chemical weapons can be made for much less money. Angela Kane, a senior fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, wrote in the report that biological weapons could cause global catastrophes if a pathogen leads to a pandemic. Toxic chemicals may be less deadly, but they can still contaminate a large area if they are put into water supplies. Kane added it is possible that a worldwide consensus on banning countries from using toxic chemicals will unravel. She noted that biological and chemical weapons — despite being banned — have been used at least four times in the past 40 years. Leena Srivastava, the vice chancellor of TERI University in India, wrote that despite the Paris climate deal, there is a 90% chance that global temperature increases will exceed 2 degrees Celsius this century. There is also a 33% chance that the rise will go beyond 3 degrees in the 21st century, and the world is not on track to preventing this from happening, Srivastava said. Most of Florida and Bangladesh will be underwater if the change exceeds 3 degrees, and major coastal areas like Shanghai and Mumbai will be swamped. Srivastava wrote that large numbers of refugees will leave those regions, which would suffer from extreme weather and low food production. At least three past civilizations have fallen apart due to climate change — Norse Viking settlers, the Khmer Empire, and the Indus Valley Civilization. All three were affected by climate change that was local and not caused by humans, Srivastava wrote. The climate change we face now is global, and there is nowhere for us to run. By 2050, 10 million people could die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year. An asteroid hitting the Earth could lead to global food shortages and the loss of millions of lives. A supervolcano eruption could have devastating effects on the Earth, but scientists can only anticipate such events a few weeks or months ahead of time. The management of solar radiation is the only known way to quickly halt temperature increases, but this technology is not advanced enough to be used on a global scale. Intelligent machines could devastate humans if they are not controlled. There are other risks to humanity that scientists have not even imagined yet.
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