by Einar Du Rietz

In the never ending debate on what really triggered WWI, an interesting observation is that August 1914 was one of the warmest months in Europe, during the last century. With no AC, politicians simply went bananas.

Naturally, the underlying factors were multiple; trigger happy, sometimes very old, politicians and officers, negligence to the risks involved in a full scale war with the still new military technology, old alliances, you name it. But the observation is still interesting, and probably correct at least for some of the major players.

In a recent issue of Science, the authors try to take a climate approach to the fall of the Roman Empire, arguing that the Germanic tribes finally invading Rome, were driven south by severe draughts caused by climate change.

Again, there’s probably some sense to this. At the same time, empires tend to fall for multiple, often combined reasons, such as corruption, uncontrollable expansion or just plain discontent, or incompetence among the rulers.

For some reason, the authors in Science find it necessay to point out that today’s warming is unprecendented. Really? As far as I know, the history of the world has always been rather turbulent, both concerning politics and science. And climate.

Applying an alarmist perspective to the Roman Empire gets complicated indeed, given that you really believe that climate can’t vary without human intervention. Did the northern tribes eat too much meat, or did the vicious Romans bomb them with CO2? Was this extraordinary technology of warfare then hidden until 1914,  later to be exposed by the IPCC, or has it been the well kept secret of a mysterious society, the Knights of Climate Control, based on a non-discovered island and devoted to fight civilization wherever it should appear.


  • Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.