On August 28, 2018, the California State Senate adopted Assembly Joint Resolution 33, which calls upon the federal government to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of national security policy, and spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war. The Assembly passed the resolution earlier in August, which makes California the first state in the U.S. to have passed this type of resolution. For more information, including a full vote tally, click here.
WHEREAS, Since the height of the Cold War, the United States and Russia have dismantled more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, but 15,000 of these weapons still exist and pose an intolerable risk to human survival; and
WHEREAS, Ninety-five percent of these weapons are in the hands of the United States and Russia and the rest are held by seven other countries: China, France, Israel, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom; and
WHEREAS, The use of even a tiny fraction of these weapons could cause worldwide climate disruption and global famine; for example, as few as 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs, small by modern standards, would put at least five million tons of soot into the upper atmosphere and cause climate disruption across the planet, cutting food production and putting two billion people at risk of starvation; and
WHEREAS, A large-scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of people directly and cause unimaginable environmental damage and catastrophic climate disruption by dropping temperatures across the planet to levels not seen since the last ice age; under these conditions the vast majority of the human race would starve and it is possible we would become extinct as a species; and
WHEREAS, Despite assurances that these arsenals exist solely to guarantee that they are never used, there have been many occasions when nuclear armed states have prepared to use these weapons, and war has been averted only at the last minute; and
WHEREAS, Nuclear weapons do not possess some magical quality that prevents their use; and
WHEREAS, Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said, speaking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, “It was luck that prevented nuclear war,” yet our nuclear policy cannot be the hope that luck will continue; and
WHEREAS, As the effects of climate change place increased stress on communities around the world and intensify the likelihood of conflict, the danger of nuclear war will grow; and
WHEREAS, The planned expenditure of more than $1 trillion to enhance our nuclear arsenal will not only increase the risk of nuclear disaster but fuel a global arms race and divert crucial resources needed to assure the well-being of the American people and people all over the world; and
WHEREAS, There is an alternative to this march toward nuclear war: in July 2017, 122 nations called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature urges our federal leaders and our nation to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of our national security policy; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature calls upon our federal leaders and our nation to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first, ending the President’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack, taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, canceling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons, and actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, to the Minority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the Governor.