Trump has often contradicted himself on the subject of nuclear weapons, but one of the more interesting things he’s said about them is that they are far more dangerous to the planet than global warming is. It’s a revealing comparison. The damage from a nuclear explosion does not respect national boundaries, and this adjustment in scale, from the national to the global, was the key argument put forward by advocates of disarmament. That argument has been won: Trump’s tweets aside, there is a bipartisan consensus in favor of significant arms reductions. Bipartisan agreement about the future of the planet falls apart not over the bomb but over the climate. Historically, though, they’re inseparable: the weapons and the weather are twisted together, a wire across time, the long fuse to an ongoing debate about the credibility of science, the fate of the Earth, and the nature of uncertainty.
Jill Lepore, “Autumn of the Atom”, The New Yorker (30 January 2017), 22-23.