Against the Grain

Global Climate Crisis in the 17th Century

The effects of climate change are here and serious, as the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has laid out in stark terms. While it may seem like uncharted waters in the modern era, our ancestors in the 1600s faced a global climate crisis in a century wracked by wars, famines, and social unrest. Historian Geoffrey Parker discusses the lessons of the 17th century, where elites — with the exception of Tokugawa Japan — responded to the “Little Ice Age” with wars and scapegoating.


Geoffrey Parker, Global Crisis War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century Yale University Press, 2013

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