In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times (“Lessons from the Little Ice Age,” NYT, March 22, 2014), historian Geoffrey Parker—author of Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century—suggests the desperate climate of the years 1600 to 1700 is a template for a collapse of civilization in the twenty-first century. But there’s one massive flaw in his theory: The past cultural collapses have almost all occurred during “little ice ages,” not during our many global warmings.
The year 2013 has been a great year for global agriculture. Record world production of rice and healthy production of wheat and corn produced strong harvests across the world. These gains were achieved despite continuing predictions that world agricultural output is headed for a decline.