Climate, Crisis, and “Causality”
Another recent study published in PNAS, which has also received some attention in the media, finds a strong statistical link between periods of cooler climate and conflict in early modern Europe. Unfortunately, despite a promising title (“The Causality Analysis of Climate Change and Large-Scale Human Crisis”), author David Zhang and colleagues have done little to find actual pathways of causation between climatic and human events. Basically, we just learn that during periods of lower average temperatures there were also higher food prices and more conflict. Perhaps next time they should invite along a historian…?