Nuclear Tests (Effects on Weather)

Oral Answers to Questions — Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Jones Mr Daniel Jones , Burnley 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the light of the facts contained in the evidence sent to him by the honourable Member for Burnley, he will initiate a study of the effect of nuclear bomb testing upon the weather.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I am grateful to the hon. Member for sending me a report of remarks attributed to Mr. Manalo of the Philippines, but I do not think they contain evidence that nuclear tests have had any significant effect upon the weather. I am advised that it would not be profitable to initiate a special study of this matter at the present time.

Photo of Mr Daniel Jones Mr Daniel Jones , Burnley

In thanking the Prime Minister for the courtesy of that reply, may I appeal to him to consider the matter, in view of the fact that these remarks attributed to Mr. Manalo have gone undisputed and that we might benefit in this country from a similar study to that effected under Command Paper 2029 and a report given to the House?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

All sorts of remarks are made, and the fact that they are not disputed is not necessarily a reason to set in motion quite expensive and complicated studies. From the advice which I have, I feel that this is not a project on which we ought now to embark. I only have reports of what was said, but he said that if there were 2,000 atomic bombs exploded in the next ten years it would be the beginning of the ice age. We had very bad weather last winter, but I do not think that it was due to any explosions of atomic bombs. I have some information which the hon. Member may like to have: at any one time in the tropics there are said to be between 1,000 and 2,000 thunderstorms going on, each releasing the same energy as a megaton bomb.

Photo of Mr Daniel Jones Mr Daniel Jones , Burnley

I must again say that I appreciate the remarks made by the Prime Minister, but I ask him to remember that the remarks, a copy of which I sent to him, are from a scientist; and with due respect to the Prime Minister, he does not earn that coveted title.