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Commentary | 23 January 2024

Ok, Doomer! The NEVER Podcast – Nuclear War: What is it good for?

Deterrence Emerging technologies NEVER Nuclear Arms Control Nuclear Disarmament Nuclear Weapons Risk Reduction WMDs Global Security NEVER

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Nuclear War, What is it good for?” is the second episode of “Ok Doomer!” the podcast series by The European Leadership Network’s (ELN) New European Voices on Existential Risk (NEVER) network. Hosted by the ELN’s Policy and Impact Director, Jane Kinninmont, and the ELN’s Project and Communications Coordinator, Edan Simpson, this episode will look at the question of nuclear war – the original man-made existential threat to humanity.

What would it mean for the world if a nuclear war broke out? How close we are to one? And how worried should we be?

As always, we set the episode up in “What’s the Problem?” and in this episode, we hear from Dr Rishi Paul, Senior Policy Fellow at the ELN and Dr Oliver Meier, Policy and Research Director at the ELN, on the basics of how nuclear deterrence works and an introduction to nuclear arms control.

The guests joining Edan on this episode’s panel discussion include John Pope from the USA. John is the Chief Audience Officer at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the organisation that has maintained the Doomsday Clock since 1947 in response to the advent of nuclear weapons. We are also joined by Valeriia Hesse, a NEVER member from Ukraine. Valeriia is research coordinator at the Central European University in Vienna and a fellow at the Odesa Centre for Non-proliferation (OdCNP), where she focuses on nuclear policy and risk reduction. The final panel guest is ELN Policy Fellow Dr Olamide Samuel from Nigeria. Olamide leads the ELN’s work on bolstering the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is also an honorary fellow at the University of Leicester.

The panel discuss risk reduction, what it is and how it works in practice. They also discuss whether nuclear disarmament is still possible in today’s environment, the role that ordinary people can play, and how they can use their voice.

Jane is joined by Sahil Shah, Senior Fellow and Programme Manager at the Council on Strategic Risks for ‘Turn Back The Clock’, where we explore an example from history when humanity avoided an existential risk.

Finally, the episode is wrapped up in “The Debrief”, where Jane and Edan look back on the episode and all their guests to make sense of everything covered.

Catch up on previous episodes, and make sure to subscribe to future episodes of ‘Ok Doomer!

Risk Reduction Classification by Wilfred Wan at UNIDIR

UNIDIR = United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research

ICAN = International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Ok, Doomer! – Podcast page