Politics & Policy

Global Warming & the Mongolian Empire’s Rise

Humanity’s greatest land empire was made possible by non-human climate change.

Many phenomena, real and imagined, have been attributed to global warming. From rising ocean levels to increased agricultural yields to tornadoes to polar vortices to droughts to rapes to car thefts, global warming now stands as the cause of just about anything. And because of current political dogma, man is ultimately blamed for all these evils (and occasional goods).

Now a recent study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues that there is a correlation between increasing global temperatures and the rise of the Mongolian empire. According to “Pluvials, droughts, the Mongol Empire, and modern Mongolia,” the “dramatic increase in temperature and precipitation in the 13th century” increased grassland production, favoring the formation of Mongolian power, which was predominantly reliant on horses.#ad#

For global-warming alarmists, there’s one problem: The Mongolian empire, fueled by a “dramatic increase in temperatures,” grew to power in the early 1200s, over 500 years before the first Industrial Revolution, when man began pumping large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

The scientific facts of the study are clear, even if the researcher’s sociopolitical conclusions are debatable. Annual tree-ring records show a warming period through the 12th and 13th centuries, which yielded “persistent moisture unprecedented in the last 1,000 years” correlating with the rise of the Mongolian empire. Much like the Medieval Warm Period of the 10th to 13th centuries, which warmed the North Atlantic region, this hot spell contradicts those few who contend that global warming is purely man-made. Furthermore, according to the study, this pre-industrial global warming was significant enough to cause the rise of the largest land empire in the history of mankind.

This alone does not prove whether anthropogenic global warming (AGW) exists, or to what degree, but it does cast doubt on the multiplicity of evils alarmists claim AGW causes. After all, this study asserts that a major climatic change happened, resulting in one of the grandest accomplishments in human history, long before man traded his horse in for an SUV, or his hand loom for a mechanical one.

Ultimately, global warming may not have actually promoted the rise of the Mongolian empire. While scientists contend that it did cause wetter weather, it is for historians to determine the degree to which weather and climate affected human events.

But if global warming was behind the rise of the Mongolian empire, it was surely natural, not man-made. Likewise, when alarmists claim that global warming will cause extreme weather, that may or may not be true. But in determining whether man is to be blamed or not, it is worth looking back to the Mongolians.

— Alec Torres is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Science & Tech

Set NASA Free

The Trump administration has proposed shifting the International Space Station from a NASA-exclusive research facility to a semi-public, semi-private one. Its plan would nix all government funding for the ISS by 2025 and award at least $150 million per year to NASA to help with the transition. This would be a ... Read More