The Mongol invasion scrubbed nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, according to surprising new research.
GENGHIS GREEN: The founder of history's largest contiguous empire cooled the planet while taking a body count. (Photo: Wiki Commons/public domain)
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, reports Mongabay.com
Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol invasion cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
So how did Genghis Khan, one of history's cruelest conquerors, earn such a glowing environmental report card? The reality may be a bit difficult for today's environmentalists to stomach, but Khan did it the same way he built his empire — with a high body count.
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.