The Hill

Genghis Khan’s massacres helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The Hill

Genghis Kahn, in slaughtering massive numbers of people as he worked to build his Mongol Empire, might also have reduced the emissions scientists say cause climate change.

New research suggests depopulation as a result of Khan’s efforts to grow his empire — millions of people are estimated to have been killed during the period — resulted in reforestation and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“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, » the website reports.

More trees mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions, because trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. According the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology, a side effect of trees replacing farmland was to remove 700 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, thus cooling the planet.