Green Cross International Calls for Urgent Nuclear Arms Control at United Nations

Green Cross International (GCI) and the US-based Arms Control Association (ACA) called this week for accelerated nuclear arms control and disarmament actions at the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee meetings at the United Nations in New York City. In a joint statement, “Time for All States to Accelerate Progress on Key 2010 Action Steps,” distributed on Tuesday, April 29, 2013, both non-governmental organizations stated that “[w]e are one year away from the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and the global nuclear disarmament and risk reduction enterprise is at yet another important crossroads.  The situation requires that the states gathered here [at the United Nations] must seriously consider, explore, and pursue alternative options to reduce global nuclear dangers and jumpstart progress toward the fulfillment of the ambitious 2010 NPT Action Plan.”

Authored by Dr. Paul F. Walker, Director of Environmental Security and Sustainability at Global Green USA and GCI, and Mr. Daryl Kimball, ACA’s Executive Director, the statement pointed out that “[i]n 2010, all of the NPT nuclear-weapon states committed to ‘diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons’ and ‘[d]iscuss policies that could prevent the use of nuclear weapons.’  Unfortunately, none of them has undertaken demonstrable, concrete steps to do so.”

The joint statement also warned: “As a consequence, the risk that nuclear weapons might be used again someday—in response to conventional attack, in response to a nuclear attack, or as the result of accidental exchange—remains all too high.”

Walker and Kimball proposed five complimentary “ways forward”:

  • Use the Humanitarian Consequences conferences as an opportunity for dialogue.  All states should better understand the enormous risks of nuclear weapons and exploit avenues to reduce and eliminate these risks.
  • Accelerate New START reductions.  Both the US and Russia should accelerate their reductions in strategic nuclear forces under the 2010 New START agreement, and negotiate much deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals.
  • Seek to cap the growth of the arsenals of the other nuclear-armed states.  China, France, Britain, India, and Pakistan must pledge not to increase their nuclear arsenals.
  • Adjust nuclear readiness posture of some ICBMs.  The hair-trigger alert status of nuclear forces should be reduced, starting with US and Russian land-based missiles.
  • Follow through on commitments to ratify the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty).  The US, China, Israel, Egypt, Iran, and other countries should ratify the CTBT in the next year in order to bring the treaty into force.