Twilight of Abundance – The Case for Global Cooling

If you look at the mainstream news today, one gets the distinct impression that the planet is headed for a cataclysmic environmental shift driven by the earth’s changing climate. What you will not hear, however, is that this shift may very well come from cooling of the planet by reduced solar activity, and not the warming that most climate alarmists are warning of due to anthropogenic (man-made) emissions of greenhouse gases. In ‘Twilight of Abundance’, scientist David Archibald reviews the evidence over the last several thousand years, and comes to the conclusion that our current age is an interglacial one, which if historical patterns hold true, will revert to a period of glaciation and cooling that will bring catastrophic down-pressure on earth’s carrying capacity for life as the sun goes into a period of lower radiative activity.


The Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 135 – Twilight of Abundance – The Case for Global Cooling

— References —

– Limits to Growth, Club of Rome (1972)
– Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009, Wikileaks (2009) –,_data,_models,_1996-2009
– Inside Job, Ferguson (2010)
– In the Greenhouse: Forests Get More Water Efficient as Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Walsh (2013) –
– Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short, Archibald (2014)
– The Impact of Recent Forcing and Ocean Heat Uptake Data on Estimates of Climate Sensitivity, Curry and Lewis (2018) –
– A Running List of Climate Change Deniers Joining the Trump Administration, Schulman (2018) –
– Oscillations of the baseline of solar magnetic field and solar irradiance on a millennial timescale, Zharkova et. al. (2019) –
– Right Wing Environmentalism – Storm King Edition, Myth of the 20th Century (2019) –
– Collapse of Complex Societies – Borzoi Edition, Myth of the 20th Century (2019) –


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter Whitaker says:

    If the output of the sun starts dropping, the solution will be to bring in more sunlight with mirrors or lenses constructed in orbit in around the Earth. Shades and lenses can also decrease sunlight or redirect sunlight from the tropics to the poles. If it were so desired, the entire surface of the globe could be maintained at a constant temperature and with constant sunlight.


  2. I just listened to Hank ouverture and I just could not refrain from leaving a comment. Regarding that topic ”climate change”, I don’t think it is much relevant to talk about the current majority of scientists; who don’t behave in a way which is indicative of the dangers awaiting humanity regarding the changes produced by human activity in the biosphere (for the next centuries to come — the time window is quite important here); as a way of measuring the likelihood of the truth of such theories. I think that the way the human brain is wired makes it just very difficult to behave in a rational manner regarding such threats (i.e. the threat to jeopardize the continuation of a (may be) too large civilization of 7.5 millions sapiens). There is a time shift between the lifetime of scientists and the moment when things are predicted to start to go badly which I think makes Hank ouverture not so relevant.

    In any case, I recommend the whole myth20c crew to have a look at a nice series of 8 Lectures from Jean-Marc Jancovici (Cours des Mines 2019) which does, I think, a pretty good job in trying to explain the science and chemistry involved in the various aspects governing our biosphere. I should also stress that he does this in way which makes minimal use of charts and equations (which makes it relevant for podcast folks like you) — BTW, as a side comment, I think that for many topics that you have explored in your podcasts, the audience would have gained a lot if you had brought up some physics, mathematics and chemistry in order to better understand the topics. I seem to recall that Adam at a few occasions made some quick incursions in that direction but it was to seldom for people who claim to be serious about trying to understand the world —–

    Also I suggest the whole crew to have one podcast on nuclear energy in order for you to learn about the subject. Many of your views on that topic are naive and mainstream and are not backed by hard science and evidence. The human consequences around Tchernobyl in 1986, though tragic, were pretty mild overall. Have a look at some of the research by Gerry Thomas on this topic and also at the WHO report on the health effects after the Tchernobyl accident. Nuclear plants, is I think one of the most universal way of producing massive amount of energy while (if well managed) minimizing the effect on human health. I agree though that looking at a long time window (millenium for example) it does not look very much appealing to build a new nuclear plant every 40-60 years but I view nuclear energy more as a way of cushioning our civilization landing towards energy sobriety and frugality in order to avoid some disastrous consequences of a modern civilization that would be forced to suffer a quick drop in its energy supply.

    As a sequel to your future nuclear energy podcast, I suggest a podcast on ”fluxes of energy”. After all your very own podcast exists precisely because there is a machinery park, powered by the US energy mix, which free each you from farming (less for Adam may be), walking long distances, washing your dishes and clothes, cooling your food, broadcasting your show, bringing easily books in your homes, so on and so on.

    Enough rambling, I should keep playing the rest of ”Twilight of Abundance – The Case for Global Cooling” podcast but I have a feeling that I’ll be disappointed about it.


  3. Hugo Chapdelaine says:

    I meant 7.5 billions of sapiens of course :o) (looking at today’s estimate 7.7 billions is a bit more accurate)


  4. Hugo Chapdelaine says:

    So I played today the rest of the podcast and I wanted to make a few constructive comments related to the so-called “Climate change topic” which hopefully could be useful for some people interested in that topic. First of all one should make clear that most of the data used to study our biosphere is made out of “averages” which is a mathematical construct which is not easily accessible to our senses. Such mathematical constructs are sometimes used by scientists (and have been used by them in the past) as a way for understanding the world (e.g. finding new patterns which could lead to some useful predictions). So given a large set of averages of a given quantity (e.g. temperature on the the surface of our globe (land+ocean)) it makes sometimes sense to plot these values in term of a parameter (e.g. a number years from a certain point of reference in the past on the time line). When then obtain a graph. Having now a graph at out disposal one may talk about the value of the function and the rate of change of the function at a given time (the slope of the graph at a given time). Being myself a mathematician, I have for many years internalized the distinction between the value of a function versus the slope of the function but very often this important distinction is absent in informal discussions involving time series. From what I read, it seems that a lot of the uncertainty regarding the future of our biosphere springs from the allegation that no such rate of change has been observed in the history of our species (could be even true in the last couple of millions years —- BTW the science for estimating the average change of temperature in our geological past seems to me quite interesting).

    Having said that, an increase of 2 degrees Celsius of the average temperature at the surface of our globe could impact many living beings but if one focuses say on plants, then I think that the change in precipitation patterns (from some kind of feedback loop) is more impacting than a +2 degree; and since plants are at the bottom of the food chain then this would inevitably affect a large part of our biosphere. Assuming this +2 degrees scenario, I don’t think that the mainstream ”climate scientist” is too much worried about the survival of our species for the following two reasons: first the climate (or year weather if you like) in such a scenario is not expected to be uniform across the globe (so some parts should still be inhabitable for our species); and second, as long as Sapiens has access to a steady supply of energy, it has many ways of coping with extreme biosphere conditions. But keeping a human civilization of 7.7 billion individuals in a +2 degrees scenario is another story.

    Here are some quick comments:

    1) There are many agents on a given time window (centuries, millenia, ions, etc) which impact the average climate and depending on the time window you choose and what you measure the main agents may change. Here are some of them: (i) the orbit trajectory of earth around the sun is not a perfect ellipse (since the two body model is only an approximation of our solar system), (ii) precession of the earth’s rotation axis, (iii) Albedo effect, (iv) greenhouse gases (the two prevalent ones being water vapor (0.3%) and CO2 (0.04%), (v) Life itself like plants and algeaes which convert CO2+water+sunlight into oxygen and glucose, etc.

    2) ice and fresh snow do reflect a lot of sunlight but desert land also does in a significant way.

    3) In the IPCC various models, the only way to get higher green house gases emissions is by having a higher GDP. This comes from the very definition of the models and can be explained by the observation that so far, the only way to increase GDP is to ”produce and consume” more energy and since petrolum is so central in our modern economy (our economy literally depends on 95%+ of petrolum even though petrolum only represents say 37% within the energy mix in the US). So this means that in all these models, it cannot happen that greenhouse gases can affect negatively the economy…. Of course this is dubious but these are the models we have for the moment.

    4) I completely agree with Hank reservations regarding the so-called ”renewable energies’ (RE). One cannot really compare intermittent energy (wind mills, solar panels) with reliable energy sources (coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear energy (which can be made reliable)). This is obvious when one looks at Germany VS France. France pays its electricity at least twice as less as Germany (if I remember correctly) while simultaneously producing twice as less CO2 as Germany. Germany was an idiot by replacing some of its nuclear plants by coal plants… In fact, the additional energy produced by wind mills (WM) and solar panels (SP) becomes more and more expensive as the prevalence of WM and SP becomes important within the energy mix. Unfortunately most of what we hear on the news regarding RE is fallacious, illogical, unscientific and incomplete. It is not inconceivable that one day, a smart guy (or a bunch of them), will find a clever way to store efficiently electrons in motion (i.e. electricity) and this would open the door to large scale electricity storage but I would not bet my money on that; for the time being I prefer to be cautious and stand on the science that I know and not put an excess of faith in some fantastic future technology that may never come.

    5) The science of climate is a tricky business. I always found it a bit ironic that one of the finest mind of the 20th century, John von Neumann, thought that one day (not too far from his lifetime) humans would know enough on how to control the weather. Hawkish as he was, he also viewed, partly, this weather control possibility as a powerful weapon, more powerful than the nuclear bomb (for which he also took part). Thanks to his vision and great mind, we now have fast calculating computers which joined us in our quest of cracking the difficult problem of climate and weather. Thanks John!


  5. Aeoli Pera says:

    Damn son, what’s that outro song?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s