Climate Change and the Plague
An interesting nugget from The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire [page 91]:
Climatology is now infected by partisan polemics, but ice core studies that show rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere over the last ten thousand years are undisputed.
An “anthropogenic” explanation recently proposed by an eminent climatologist with much persuasive evidence is that agricultural deforestation, which replaces natural greenery with bare planted fields, and increasing livestock herds, especially of methane-producing cattle, have at least measurably contributed to rising levels of carbon dioxide over the last several thousand years. In that context, carbon dioxide levels in the ice show two abrupt and drastic declines, one of which correlates with circa 541 [AD], providing external evidence of an unprecedented demographic collapse that caused the widespread reversion of cleared fields to natural greenery and the predation of abandoned cattle . . .