A new report published August 24 by Nature magazine claims that "global climate is a major factor in organized patterns of violence" around the world and that warmer periods lead to more war and conflict. |
One problem: the study is 180 degrees away from reality. Even Nature felt it necessary to publish a dissenting view in the same edition of the magazine.
China is a good test case for the relationship between global warming and social stability because it has been a well-populated, primarily agricultural country for millennia, and it has a relatively well-recorded history over this period.
Research from 2005 revealed that war frequencies, peak war clusters, nationwide periods of social unrest, and dynastic transitions were all significantly associated with cold, not warm, phases of China's oscillating climate.
Specifically, all three distinctive peak war clusters (defined as more than 50 wars in a ten-year period) occurred during cold climate phases, as did all seven periods of nationwide social unrest and nearly 90 percent of all dynastic changes that decimated this largely agrarian society. The researchers conclude that climate change was "one of the most important factors in determining the dynastic cycle and alternation of war and peace in ancient China," with warmer climates having been immensely more effective than cooler ones in terms of helping "keep the peace."
A similar study from 2010 examined data on Chinese history, including temperature, wars and rebellions, epidemics, famines, and population for the past millennium. Over the study interval of 911 years, it was found that nomad migrations, rebellions, wars, epidemics, floods, and droughts were all higher during cold periods.
Also in 2010, Richard S.J. Tol of the University of Amsterdam and Sebastian Wagner of the Institute for Coastal Research in Geesthacht, Germany essentially did for Europe what the Chinese researchers did earlier for China. As with the scientists who studied China, their results indicate that "periods with lower temperatures in the pre-industrial era are accompanied by violent conflicts."
For more information, see "Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report", released by The Heartland Institute, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP).