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Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On 6 August 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, on 9 August 1945, the city of Nagasaki was also bombed. Hundreds of thousands of people died. Among those who survived, many live with illness and disability, and with the burden of tremendous loss.

The terrible human cost of these atrocities is still felt today, and CND groups always gather on the anniversary of the bombings in order to remember, reflect, and send a clear message to those in power that this must never happen again.

We invite you to discover the full impact of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, to witness the testimony of survivors, and to join us in remembrance on the weekend of 6 to 9 August.

 

Peace and Climate at COP26

Peace and Climate at COP26

From 1 to 12 November 2021, Glasgow will host one of the world's most significant conferences on environment and climate change, known as COP26.

COP26 must not pass by without world leaders getting to grips with the massive climate damage done by war and preparations for war. Peace organisations across Scotland and around the world demand action on all forms of conflict and militarism, including a complete end to nuclear weapons -- without this, there will be no possibility of an end to environmental destruction, nor any hope of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the level we need to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Dive into the resources below to find out more about: Events and actions taking place at COP26 (and in the weeks beforehand); Opportunities to volunteer; Petitions; Solidarity and Support, especially for activists in the Global South; Resources and campaign materials to learn more about the links between climate change and war, and to get the message out; and Organisations in Scotland and around the world who are campaigning on peace and climate change.

If you are interested in finding out more about events taking place in Scotland in the run-up to COP26, or if you'd like to help us to plan and organise events or do other kinds of volunteering, please get in touch! You can contact individual organisations via the links below, or get in touch with those of us organising for peace and climate action via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Events and Actions

26 September - Disarm for Our Planet: Die-In - On the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, we will be organising "Disarm for Our Planet" - a marine-themed die-in at Faslane (and around Scotland) drawing attention to the links between nuclear weapons, environmental damage and climate crisis. Find out more and join us.

Similar protests will be taking place across the UK and in Europe. Find out more about UK-based actions via CND UK, and check out the Nuke-Free Europe Network for more information on their Month of Action.

4 November - Global Day of Action on Climate Change and Militarism - Peace organisations in Scotland and around the world will be organising actions on 4 November, during the COP26 conference, to draw attention to the links between conflict and climate change. Please check back here for more information shortly, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are planning to organise an event (or want to volunteer to help with one!).

7-10 November - People's Summit for Climate Justice - Organised by the COP26 Coalition, the People’s Summit is a global convergence space for movements, campaigns and civil society and will provide an alternative to the business as usual of false solutions and inaction from rich nations and corporations. There is an open call for submissions until 30 August 2021 - find out more and submit a proposal here.

 

Call for Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers to help organise a Peace and Climate event in Glasgow on 4 November 2021 - please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to get involved!

 

Petitions

Open for signature: Demand that Governments Commit to Meaningful Military Emissions Cuts at COP26 - the Conflict and Environment Observatory.

Open for signature: Stop Excluding Military Pollution from Climate Agreements - World Beyond War.

 

Solidarity and Support

Homestay Network: If you live in or near Glasgow, and you are willing to open your home to visiting activists during COP26, consider signing up to host with the Homestay Network organised by Human Hotel, together with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the COP26 Coalition.

Visa Support Service Crowdfunder: Set up by the COP26 Coalition, the aim of this crowdfunder is to provide support for Global South activists to obtain visit visas for COP26. Find out more and support the appeal here.

 

Resources

XR Peace has a fantastic collection of resources, including articles, leaflets, posters, logos and graphics, addressing the links between militarism, conflict and climate change. Find out more and access the collection here.

Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) have an extensive collection of reports and presentations on the links between climate change and the military. Find out more and access the collection here.

World Beyond War have put together a collection of articles and factsheets on the ways that war threatens our environment. Find out more and access the collection here.

 

Campaigning organisations

The links between war and climate change are too grave and too urgent to be overlooked. Organisations across the Scottish peace movement are campaigning in the build-up to COP26, and will go on working to address the twin threats to humankind of climate change and militarism for as long as our work is needed. Click on the organisation names below to find out more about what we do, and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to see your organisation added to this list:

XR Peace 

Trident Ploughshares

Scottish CND

Peace and Justice

Transition Edinburgh

Ayrshire CND

Edinburgh CND

Glasgow CND

Edinburgh Stop the War

Faslane Peace Camp

UN House Scotland

Glasgow Catholic Worker

North East Scotland CND

Medact Scotland

Quakers in Scotland

Scottish WILPF

Highlands Against Nuclear Transport

NukeWatch

 

Coalitions

The COP26 Coalition is a civil society coalition made of groups and individuals from a range of constituencies in Scotland and the rest of the UK - including many organisations from across the peace movement - who are organising for climate justice around COP26.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is a coalition of over 60 civil society organisations in Scotland campaigning together on climate change, including organisations from across the peace movement. 

 

Warm Welcome for ICAN NATO Report

 

Today the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign Report for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) published its report: “Why NATO members should join the UN nuclear weapon ban”.

Scottish CND warmly welcomes this new, thorough and comprehensive report which makes a wholly compelling case for NATO member states to engage with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In doing so it dispels a number of myths and misrepresentations around the new Treaty.

In particular, it disposes of the claim that accession to the TPNW is incompatible with membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The current nuclear Strategic Doctrine is not intrinsic to the North Atlantic Treaty and there are no legal barriers to NATO states signing and ratifying the TPNW, though it would mean the end of any “nuclear sharing” and a renunciation by the state in question of any dependence on the nuclear arsenal of another state for their security. The report notes a new fluidity within NATO states in regard to recognition of the TPNW, reflected at party, parliamentary and popular level.

While the target audience of the report is NATO states (and mainly those which are not themselves nuclear-armed) the report has huge interest and relevance for a Scotland that is the involuntary host to the UK’s weapons of mass destruction. Scottish CND’s stance on NATO is unequivocal. NATO is an aggressive military alliance. As an independent Scotland its our place and key relationships in the wider world it will make absolutely no sense to align itself with a US leadership that remains committed to nuclear policies.

At the same time, we are but part of the global disarmament movement that has been given such new hope and momentum by the emergence of the TPNW. We need to recognise that the questions and the equations of compromise are different in different contexts.

It is heart-warming to see embedded in the report the following quotation from the Scottish First Minister:

An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory (to the TPNW) and I hope the day when we can do that is not far off.”

We share her hope and her emphasis on the primacy of the Treaty. Early accession to the TPNW, as well as marking an absolute rejection of nuclear weapons, will also be a powerful signal that we want to join the world in tackling together the huge and varied challenges that we face. And we should be preparing for that right away, especially by making and strengthening links with the global movement.

Scottish CND Chair Lynn Jamieson said: The original NATO treaty does not require the absurd self-delusion that nuclear weapons provide ‘safety’ or an ‘umbrella’. SCND opposes NATO because of its nuclear doctrine, ratcheting up of the arms race and for making Scotland an involuntary host to nuclear weapons. Until its member states sign the Nuclear Ban treaty, NATO is normalising unimaginable horror and doing harm to us all.

 

 

 

Devo Max is No Through Road, Say Anti-Nuclear Campaigners

 Scottish CND has reacted strongly to renewed suggestions that “Devo Max” is the way forward for Scotland. In recent days Kenny MacAskill and Iain McWhirter, among others, have touted the idea that Scotland should go for a quasi home-rule option that would mean the devolution of all powers except for defence and foreign policy.

Scottish CND Chair Lynn Jamieson said:

“The simple fact is that such a route can effect none of the transformation that we need for a wholesome and peace-loving nation.

Put in the negative, Devo Max would mean that we would continue to be both a launch pad and a target for hideous weapons of mass destruction, would be dragged into the UK’s military adventures, would continue to be the prime site for the UK’s military installations, and would be bound into the UK’s increasingly aggressive approach to international relations. It is also naive to think that any real economic freedom can exist alongside these critical reservations. It is sad when commentators of the stature of Kenny McAskill and Iain McWhirter don’t appear to grasp that the nuclear weapon question is a bell-weather when it comes to the vision of a new land – an utter rejection of that ultimate and genocidal violence is a fundamental requirement for human security and well-being.

Independence, as well as giving us the option of exiting that disastrous mix, gives us the chance to make something of our place in the wider world untrammelled by the old chauvinistic frameworks, and this at a time when there is a growing understanding of our interdependence and the need to face the real challenges in a spirit of co-operation. Devo Max means abandoning that vision.”

 

 

 

 

HMS Queen Elizabeth - war game voyage

 

Opinion by David Mackenzie, Scottish CND

There seems no limit to human folly. As the UK’s latest aircraft carrier set off to sail the crowed reaches of the South China Sea, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, opined that the warship would “operate in a "non-confrontational" fashion.  The UK carrier strike group consists of The Queen Elizabeth with 18 fighter planes, with six other warships and support vessels. The UK flotilla, although much-trumpeted, will be a small part of a huge NATO-plus-partners naval presence in the South China Sea. There will be warships from the US (already there in force), the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, the UAE, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, India, Oman, and South Korea. The US claim is that the build-up of Chinese naval forces is a threat to the freedom of the seas in that quarter of the ocean but let Radakin’s tenuous grasp on reality sink in - darkening the horizon with hundreds of vessels of war, armed to the teeth, is “non-confrontational”.

A Decisive Result for Nuclear Disarmament

Scottish CND welcomes the outcome of the Scottish Election, which saw widespread success for supporters of nuclear disarmament – reflecting the strong public support across Scotland for an end to nuclear weapons.

Two parties – the SNP and the Scottish Greens – made clear manifesto commitments to outlawing nuclear weapons in Scotland and working to abolish them around the world, through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In addition, a number of Labour MSPs who are committed to nuclear disarmament were elected, with Labour’s representative at the Scottish Peace Hustings making it clear that Scottish Labour have a distinct position on nuclear disarmament, which differs from Westminster’s.

Glasgow City Council Joins the Cities Appeal

Great news – Glasgow City Council has just joined the ICAN Cities Appeal, passing a resolution in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Friday 13 May. 

We are delighted that the resolution had strong, cross-party support, and our thanks go to Councillor Feargal Dalton, who led the motion, and Councillor Rhiannon Spear, who seconded it. Special thanks are due to the members of Glasgow CND branch, who wrote to their Councillors to call for them to adopt the Pledge – and even organised an online event earlier this year to push for action by the Council. 

Angry Response to UK/NATO Exercise "Strike Warrior"

Scottish CND has responded with anger and concern to the NATO exercise “Strike Warrior” which will take place mainly in Scotland.

Exercise Strike Warrior will run for two weeks (8th to 20th May) and will involve more than 30 warships, three submarines and 150 aircraft from 11 nations and is a final test for the UK's “Carrier Strike Group” ahead of its first operational deployment to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific, plus perhaps a shadowy role for the Vanguard submarines given UK ambivalence about "tactical" nuclear weapons . It will be a war game with the UK force on one side and NATO's Standing Maritime Group on the other. It will take place on the west coast of Scotland – the Hebrides, Campbeltown, Loch Ewe, Garvie Island and Ullapool.

In a statement Scottish CND said:

“The UK government has not been coy about this war game. It has been trumpeted with all the posturing and a strut of an Edwardian Dreadnought parade – the flag waving prelude to the slaughter of WW1. At the heart of the promotion is the carrier Queen Elizabeth and its bizarre role in a Cold War style patrol of the South China Sea.

Fundraiser for Chernobyl Children International

Guest blog by Iona Hancock (President, Aberdeen University CND). Picture credit: Iona Hancock.

In October 2020, Aberdeen University Campaign for Nuclear disarmament committee members held a fundraiser where we aimed to walk everyday, from our university campus to Gretna Green (a total of 350 kilometres) for Chernobyl Children International (CCI). By the end of the month, our three committee members walked a total of 458.43 kilometres - hypothetically finishing in the Yorkshire Dales - and raised an incredible €402.91. 

Chernobyl Children International was founded by Adi Roche,  who was one of the first leading international figures to respond to the humanitarian crisis which ensued after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. For over 34 years, CCI has worked tirelessly on their mission to restore hope, alleviate suffering and protect current and future generations in the Chernobyl regions, by passionately advocating for the rights of all of those affected. CCI is the sole organisation working in the Chernobyl area to be accredited with UN official NGO status.

There were many challenges throughout the month (think blisters and bad weather rolling in from the North Sea whenever we set foot outside) however all three of us found new spots of Aberdeen we had never seen, and spent more time at the beach than we ever had before!

We also had the opportunity to document some of Aberdeen’s prettiest places ...

  

(photo credits: Iona Hancock / Aberdeen University CND)

We got back in contact with CCI after our fundraiser to ask their opinion on what we achieved. They had this to say, ‘We were absolutely  thrilled with AUCND’s fundraiser ‘Trektober’. It was a fantastic fundraiser that took hard work and dedication, and we are so grateful that CCI was chosen.’

‘We are always glad to see young people taking an interest in such important issues. Chernobyl is not something from the past, Chernobyl “is forever” and the consequences of this Nuclear disaster are embedded in our world forever, with countless millions of people still being affected by its deadly legacy.  We are so thankful to AUCND for taking action and raising awareness of the work of our charity, which ensures the Children of Chernobyl are never forgotten.’ 

 We wholeheartedly agree with the idea that Chernobyl ‘is forever’ and as such, if you would like to get involved with CCI yourself, you can check out their various social medias or head to their website: www.chernobyl-international.com

Chernobyl's Grim Legacy

Guest blog by Dr Ian Fairlie (Scottish CND co-opted committee member)

April 26, 2021 marks the 35th anniversary of the world’s largest nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Several days later, clouds containing the radioactive caesium-137 released by the reactor passed over Scotland about 1,400 miles or 2,500 kilometres away. Although we got off lightly in comparison to nearer neighbors, rain brought radioactivity to the ground contaminating parts of southern and central Scotland. Understandings of the impact of radioactivity on human health are constantly being revised but scientists generally agree that any additional radiation over natural levels in the environment can have negative effects particularly on women and children. Even here, it is likely that some cancers will have been caused by Chernobyl. 

The most consistent long-term monitoring of Chernobyl’s impact in Scotland has been on levels of radioactivity in sheep. It was known that animals grazing on radioactive grass would become contaminated. The UK Food Standards Agency required animals to be scanned for radioactivity –those above 1,000 becquerels of radioactivity per kilogram were banned from being slaughtered for food. This turned out to have a long-term impact on some sheep farmers. Their sheep continued to be too radioactive, year after year -  for 24 years in parts of Scotland and 26 years in parts of Cumbria and Wales. Radioactivity in peat, soil and grass lasted far longer than originally anticipated (Edwards, 2010).

In 1996, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, 1996) described the accident as the “foremost nuclear catastrophe in human history” and WHO (IPHECA, 1995) estimated that the total radioactivity from Chernobyl was 200 times that of the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The explosions and resulting 10-day graphite fire at Reactor 4 ejected about half of its contents which reached the stratosphere. The accident’s effects were therefore widespread: over 4,000,000 km2, ie 42% of the land area of Western Europe, was seriously contaminated. The most contaminated countries were the former USSR republics of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. But Finland, Sweden, Norway, Austria and the Balkan and Slavic countries were also seriously affected by high levels of radioactive contamination. Even the United Kingdom, where more than 360 sheep farms were subjected to restrictions due to the Chernobyl contamination. Ultimately, fallout from Chernobyl was distributed over the entire northern hemisphere of the world. 

Approximately 50 people died in the immediate aftermath of the accident, however it is estimated tens of thousands of cancer fatalities and other health effects will continue arise over several decades into the future due to the Chernobyl  plumes depositing large amounts of radioactivity over Europe and the rest of the world (see bullet points below).

In 1986, most governments and official nuclear agencies strenuously denied or equivocated over the accident’s effects (Medvedev, 1990). The then UK Government, for example, was shown to have minimised Chernobyl’s effects (Edwards, 1989) and to have misled the public (Weaver, 1986). In 2019, Professor Kate Brown’s excellent exposé “Manual for Survival” illustrated the dire extent of the former USSR’s cover-up of the health effects. 

The official cover-up sadly continues to this day with agencies such as the WHO, IAEA, OECD, UNSCEAR and the ICRP remaining silent on the matter. But the multiple award-winning TV mini-series “Chernobyl” in 2019 brought home to millions of viewers the human tragedies arising from Chernobyl, the duplicity of the USSR government, and the continuing mendacious cover-ups by official agencies. 

The nuclear disaster is now more than a generation away, yet the word ‘Chernobyl’ still resonates throughout the world. Sadly, it appears that the UK government, which continues to support new nuclear reactors, has not learned anything from the Chernobyl accident in 1986 or the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 for that matter.  The Scottish government opposes new nuclear power stations in Scotland. However, they have tolerated the running of the very elderly reactors at Hunterston nuclear power station in Ayrshire, despite high levels of cracking in their graphite core (Edwards 2020). Even if the risks are small, why take any risk when the central belt of Scotland is downwind and the potential costs so catastrophically high?

Scholars have argued that connections between civil nuclear power and nuclear weapons are implicated in UK government’s promotion of new nuclear power despite renewables being safer, much cheaper and lower carbon sources of energy (Stirling and Johnstone 2018 ). Reprocessing of waste from civil nuclear power has generated a legacy-stockpile of weapon’s grade plutonium but this is not the only link across the ‘civil’ and military sectors of the nuclear industry. The training, research and knowledge infrastructure that supports nuclear power also sustains the capacity to build nuclear-powered submarines, designing and building nuclear weapons. If the significance of nuclear power for nuclear weapons causes irrational encouragement of new nuclear facilities, might it not also result in behind-the-scenes pressure to tolerate the risky extended running of Hunterston?    

Chernobyl’s grim tally

  • 5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia still live in highly contaminated areas
  • 400 million people live in less contaminated areas
  • 42% of western Europe’s land area was contaminated
  • ~40,000 fatal cancers predicted
  • 6,000 thyroid cancer cases to date, 16,000 more expected
  • increased levels of radiogenic leukemias, cardiovascular diseases, and breast cancers 
  • new evidence of radiogenic birth defects, mental health effects and diabetes
  • new evidence that children in contaminated areas suffer radiogenic illnesses

REFERENCES

Brown K (2019) Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future. Penguin, London. 

Edwards R (1989) Chernobyl fallout 40 times worse than admitted. The Guardian. 28 January, 1989.

Edwards R (2010) https://www.robedwards.com/2010/07/25-years-on-chernobyl-stops-poisoning-scottish-sheep.html

Edwards R (2020) https://theferret.scot/hunterston-cracked-nuclear-reactors-another-year/

IAEA/WHO/EC (1996) One Decade After Chernobyl: Summing up the Consequences of the Accident.

IPHECA Health Consequences of the Chernobyl accident. Results of the IPHECA pilot projects and related national programmes. Scientific Report. WHO. Geneva. 1996

Medvedev Zhores (1990) The Legacy of Chernobyl. Norton. New York and London. 

Stirling, A., & Johnstone, P. (2018). A Global Picture of Industrial Interdependencies Between Civil and Military Nuclear Infrastructures SPRU Working Paper Series (ISSN 2057-6668). Sussex: Univerity of Sussex.

Weaver D (1986) How Ministers Misled Britain about Chernobyl. New Scientist. October 9.