After all these years, Genghis Khan has been rehabilitated–as an eco-warrior! My nominee for today’s weirdest headline: Was Genghis Khan history’s greenest conqueror?
Genghis Khan’s Mongol invasion in the 13th and 14th centuries was so vast that it may have been the first instance in history of a single culture causing man-made climate change, according to new research out of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology.
Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol invasion cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. …
Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world’s total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests.
In other words, one effect of Genghis Khan’s unrelenting invasion was widespread reforestation, and the re-growth of those forests meant that more carbon could be absorbed from the atmosphere.
The same study also analyzed the effects of the Black Death and other historical events. It turns out the Black Death was mis-named; it was green too, but not as green as the Mongol Horde.
Who needs the Onion when we have environmentalists?