Can late-imperialist China give climate lessons?

Published in ERW, 10 Aug 2016

Lessons could be learnt from the way that the Chinese economy responded to climate changes in the 17th to 19th centuries, according to a statistical study by researchers in China and Switzerland.

The team found that when China was ruled by its final imperial dynasty, a general cooling of the climate induced long-term fluctuations in the economy. It also discovered that the population acted primarily as consumers rather than producers, leaving it all the more vulnerable to these economic fluctuations.

“To improve current plans of adaptation or mitigation, we need to know about these past interactions between climate change and human societies,” said Qing Pei of the Education University of Hong Kong. “Economy is usually the pillar of a society. Therefore, lessons on climate change and the economy could be [beneficial in understanding] the future of human beings when facing unprecedented global warming.” […]

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