August 6th, 2009
Scientists and engineers bear a heavy burden of responsibility to society for the creation of nuclear weapons.
The immense destructive power of these weapons was demonstrated on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in over 2,000 atmospheric and underground nuclear tests on the lands of indigenous peoples.
Thermonuclear weapons are capable of destroying cities, countries and civilization. They could end intelligent life on Earth.
Humanity has been warned again and again of the perils of nuclear weapons and nuclear war.
We recall the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, issued on July 9, 1955. The Manifesto warned, “Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?”
Human fallibility and nuclear weapons are a dangerous and unacceptable mix. We rely upon human theories concerning nuclear weapons, such as the theory of nuclear deterrence, at our peril.
Since Nagasaki, humankind has been spared nuclear war far more by good fortune than by sound planning. This good fortune will not be possible to maintain indefinitely – particularly, as is foreseeable, if nuclear weapons continue to proliferate and fall into the hands of non-state extremist groups.
Nuclear weapons were created by humans, and it is our responsibility to eliminate them before they eliminate us and much of the life on our planet. The era of nuclear weapons must be brought to an end. A world without nuclear weapons is possible, realistic, necessary and urgent.
Therefore, we the undersigned scientists and engineers, call upon the leaders of the world, and particularly the leaders of the nine nuclear weapons states, to make a world free of nuclear weapons an urgent priority.
We further call on these leaders to immediately commence good faith negotiations, as required by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, with the goal of achieving a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2020.
Finally, we call upon scientists and engineers throughout the world to cease all cooperation in the research, development, testing, production and manufacture of new nuclear weapons.