SCIENCE: by David ArchibaldNews Weekly
Global cooling means the party's over
, April 12, 2014
Baby-boomers enjoyed the most benign period in human history: fifty years of relative peace, cheap energy, plentiful grain supply and a warming climate due to the highest solar activity for 8,000 years. The party is over — prepare for the twilight of abundance. David Archibald is a Perth-based scientist working in the fields of oil exploration, medical research, climate science and energy. Here he discusses his latest book, Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish and Short (New York: Regnery Publishing, 2014).
This book had its origins back in 2005, when a fellow scientist requested that I attempt to replicate the work that a German researcher had done on the sun’s influence on climate. At the time, the solar physics community had a wide range of predictions of the level of future solar activity.
But, strangely, the climate science community was not interested in what the sun might do. I pressed on and made a few original contributions to science. The sun cooperated, and solar activity has played out much as I predicted. It has become established — for those who are willing to look at the evidence — that climate will very closely follow our colder sun.
Climate is no longer a mystery to us. We can predict forward up to two solar cycles, that is about 25 years into the future. When models of solar activity are further refined, we may be able to predict climate forward beyond 100 years.
I was a foot soldier in the solar-science trench of the global-warming battle. But that battle is only a part of the much larger culture wars. The culture wars are about the division of the spoils of civilisation, about what Abraham Lincoln termed “the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it”.
This struggle has been going on for at least as long as human beings have been speaking to each other, possibly for more than 50,000 years.
The forces of darkness have already lost the global-warming battle — the actual science is “settled” in a way quite different from what they contend, and their pseudo-science and dissimulation have become impossible to hide from the public at large — but they are winning the culture wars, even to the extent of being able to steal from the future.
The scientific battle over global warming was won, and now the only thing that remained to be done was to shoot the wounded. That could give only so much pleasure. Meanwhile, the larger struggle called.
So I turned my attention from climate to energy — always an interest of mine, as an Exxon-trained geologist.
The Arab Spring brought attention to the fact that Egypt imports half its food, and that fact set me off down another line of inquiry, which in turn became a lecture I delivered in Washington, DC, last September, entitled “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Those apocalyptic visions demanded a more lasting form — hence my new book, Twilight in Abundance.
While it has been an honour to serve on the side of the angels, that service has been tinged with a certain sadness — sadness that so many in the scientific community have been corrupted by a self-loathing for Western civilisation, what the French philosopher Julien Benda in 1927 termed “the treason of the intellectuals.”
Ten years before Benda’s book, the German philosopher Oswald Spengler wrote The Decline of the West. Spengler dispensed with the traditional view of history as a linear progress from ancient to modern. The thesis of his book is that Western civilisation is ending and we are witnessing the last season, the winter. Spengler’s contention is that this fate cannot be avoided, that we are facing complete civilisational exhaustion.
In Twilight of Abundance, I contend that the path to the broad sunlit uplands of permanent prosperity still lies before us — but to get there we have to choose that path. Nature is kind, and we could seamlessly switch from rocks that burn in chemical furnaces to a metal that burns in nuclear furnaces and maintain civilisation at a level much like the one we experience now.
But for that to happen, civilisation has to slough off the treasonous elites, the corrupted and corrupting scribblers. Our civilisation is not suffering from exhaustion so much as a sugar high. My book describes the twilight of abundance, the end of our self-indulgence as a civilisation. What lies beyond that is of our own choosing.
It has been a wonderful journey of service and I have had many help me on the way. They include Australian geoscientist Bob Foster, Australian businessman Ray Evans, English botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy, American meteorologist Anthony Watts, former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, Western Australian writer Joseph Poprzeczny, Polish-American historian Marek Chodakiewicz, Swedish-born businessman Stefan Björklund and the team at New York’s Regnery Publishing. Thanks to all.
I will provide further background to Twilight in Abundance. Thanks to an introduction from James Delingpole, I had a meeting with the publisher, Regnery, in Washington, DC, in October 2012. At that meeting, the chief editor asked me, “Mr Archibald, what do you hope to achieve with this book?”
I replied: “This may sound a bit whacko, but when I started out in climate science in 2005, I thought that, if I get to the U.S. Senate, that is as far as I could ever hope to get and I will be happy. I got to the U.S. Senate in 2011 (I gave a lecture on climate in a U.S. Senate hearing room thanks to Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute). With this book, I will write a strategic energy plan for the United States. That is step one. Step two is to implement the plan.”
If I can make it to the U.S. Senate in six years from a cold start and 20,000 km away, anything is possible. So why not aim high?
This is the take-home message of the book: Humanity is in for a rough patch, but we can come out the other side in decent shape if we have an eternity of low-cost power from thorium molten salt reactors (TMSRs).
David Archibald is a Perth-based climate scientist and energy analyst. He is a visiting fellow of the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, where he teaches a course in strategic energy policy. His book, Twilight of Abundance is available from News Weekly Books.
1. David Archibald, “The four horsemen of the Apocalypse”, Institute of World Politics (Washington, DC), September 17, 2013.
2. Julien Benda, Treason of the Intellectuals .
3. Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West [1918 (Vol. I); 1922 (Vol. II)].
4. David Archibald, “Our cooling climate”, testimony delivered in a U.S. Congressional hearing room, September 16, 2013.
5. David Archibald, “Our cooling climate”, Congressional testimony notes, September 16, 2013.