David Archibald has written a new book. In short: 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.
Archibald provides this overview.
The book’s preface provides a taste of the contents and gives some background to it.
This book had its origins back in 2005, when a fellow scientist requested that I attempt to replicate the work 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 twenty-five years into the future. When models of solar activity are further refined, we may be able to predict climate forward beyond a hundred 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 civilization, about what Abraham Lincoln termed “that 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 fifty thousand 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, and 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 entitled “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Those apocalyptic visions demanded a more lasting form—and thus this book.
While it has been an honor 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 Civilization, what the French philosopher Julien Benda in 1927 termed “the treason of the intellectuals.”1 Ten years before Benda’s book, the German philosopher Oswald Spengler wrote The Decline of the West.2 Spengler dispensed with the traditional view of history as a linear progress from ancient to modern. The thesis of his book is that Western civilization 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 civilizational exhaustion.
In this book 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 civilization at a level much like the one we experience now. But for that to happen, civilization has to slough off the treasonous elites, the corrupted and corrupting scribblers. Our civilization is not suffering from exhaustion so much as a sugar high. This book describes the twilight of abundance, the end of our self-indulgence as a civilization. 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 Bob Foster, Ray Evans, David Bellamy, Anthony Watts, Vaclav Klaus, Joseph Poprzeczny, Marek Chodakiewcz, Stefan Bjorklund, and the team at Regnery. Thanks to all.
I will give a bit further background to the book. Thanks to an introduction from James Delingpole, I had a meeting with the publisher, Regnery, in Washington in October 2012. At that meeting, the chief editor asked me,”Mr Archibald, what do 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 US Senate, that is as far as I could ever hope to get and I will be happy. I got to the US Senate in 2011 (I gave a lecture on climate in a US 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 US 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.
Once again, thanks very much to Anthony. I volunteered as his sidekick on his Australian tour a few years ago. I was invited back to Capitol Hill in September last year to give a lecture entitled Our Cooling Climate in a Congressional hearing room. The speaker’s notes are here.
One further thing. If you like the book and think that civilisation would be advanced by other people reading it, please put a review on the book’s Amazon page and that will contribute to how Amazon rates it.
Twilight of Abundance, now shipping on Amazon.