Two Birds with One Stone: Halting U.S. Nuclear Modernization and Solving Climate Change by Repurposing the National Security Laboratories
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This thesis analyzes the national security laboratories under the leadership of the National Nuclear Security Administration and explores their role in U.S. nuclear modernization, finding that five of the eight labs could easily be repurposed to focus on the problem of climate change. The thesis begins by showing that U.S. spending on nuclear modernization is not only extremely wasteful, but also dangerous as it pressures other countries to pursue nuclear modernizations, thereby reversing the current trajectory of disarmament and starting a new arms race. Cutting many of these programs would save almost 300 billion dollars without affecting the United States' ability to deter nuclear aggression. This thesis demonstrates that repurposing these savings and the national laboratories could more than triple funding for climate change research. Three labs would be more than sufficient to maintain the U.S. nuclear deterrent for decades to come, which would allow the remaining five labs to utilize all of their resources to address climate change. The thesis finds that by shifting the mission of the laboratories, the labs would benefit the U.S. and the world by pursuing climate change research while halting the dangerous trajectory of nuclear modernization.