Water Resources People and Issues
A: No, I was ill and couldn't go to some of them, and some of them I didn't
need to attend. The last one was a writing workshop at Essex and that's
where I was this month for a couple of weeks.
We expect to turn out--I have the draft manuscript on the desk now--these
two volumes. We commissioned a Canadian journalist to write a popular
version, which will be published as a paperback. I think it will be the closest
anyone has achieved so far to a consensus among the world's scientific
community as to what would happen if there were a major nuclear exchange.
Q: Is it as scary as the predictions have it?
A: In some respects it's less so. In other respects it's more so. It's a much
more careful, balanced set of judgments than those made public in Washington
last October, but it opens up some possibilities that hadn't been generally
recognized. It indicates, most of all, that a very uncertain set of processes
would be triggered by an explosion. You cannot be certain that there would
not be a nuclear winter. That's the most conservative way of putting it. But
you can also be certain that there would be a whole set of radioactive
consequences that could be quite severe, and that any dislocation in this
system of food supply and distribution could be horrendous. Of course, it
would be even if there weren't a nuclear winter. This is the ultimate natural
Q: The ultimate natural hazard.
I thought it would be the ultimate human
A: But as with all of our natural hazards, it's a human intervention in natural
systems that then has human impact. If people didn't move into floodplains
we wouldn`t be worrying about flood damages. If people didn`t invent and
set off nuclear bombs we wouldn't be worrying about profound perturbations
of the atmosphere.
That's the most recent question I've been working on. I worked on it for two
reasons. One, I was involved in starting it in SCOPE, and then had the duty
of raising about 0,000 to finance it, which turned out to be, with Tom
Malone's participation, not a difficult task. We rallied support from all