NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 22, 2007

At its height, the Khmer Empire was the largest contiguous empire in Southeast Asia. But its capital, Angkor Wat, was mysteriously abandoned about 500 years ago.  Now a team of archaeologists from the University of Sydney say that natural climate change, namely, the transition from the medieval warm period to the Little Ice Age, is to blame for the abandonment, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

This is only the latest example of natural climate change, says IBD.  Former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, has documented more:

  • From 200 B.C. to 600 A.D., the earth experienced the Roman Warming period; then, from 600 to 900, came the cold period of the Dark Ages.
  • From 900 to 1300 was the Medieval warming period and then, from 1300 to 1850, the Little Ice Age.
  • In Greenland around 936 A.D., for example, the climate supported cattle, hay, grain and herring for a colony of 3,000.
  • But by 1400 -- during the Little Ice Age -- average temperatures had declined by about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and the advancing glaciers doomed the colony.

Today we have our own naturally changing climate, says IBD.  Sunspot activity has reached a thousand-year high (activity on Mars has increased as well) and NASA reports that solar radiation has increased in each of the past two decades.

Overall, the earth has long been at the mercy of natural climate change caused by processes that man cannot control.  The Little Ice Age brought glaciers to Greenland and new monsoon patterns to Angkor Wat, making both unsustainable for living -- well before the advent of SUVs and factories.

Source: Editorial, "Angkor Management," Investor's Business Daily, March 22, 2007.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues