The Rumors of Our Global-Warming Denial Are Greatly Exaggerated

SuperFreakonomics isn’t even on sale yet, and the attacks on our chapter about global warming are already underway.

A prominent environmental blogger has attacked us. A well-known environmental-advocacy group pressured NPR into reading a statement critical of the book at the end of an interview I had given on Scott Simon‘s Weekend Edition show. Even Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong got in on the action before they’d even read the book.

We are working on a thorough response to these critics, which we hope to post on the blog in the next day or two. The bottom line is that the foundation of these attacks is essentially fraudulent, as we’ll spell out in detail. In the meantime, let us just say the following.

Like those who are criticizing us, we believe that rising global temperatures are a man-made phenomenon and that global warming is an important issue to solve. Where we differ from the critics is in our view of the most effective solutions to this problem. Meaningfully reducing global carbon emissions has proven to be difficult, if not impossible. This isn’t likely to change, for the reasons we discuss in the book. Consequently, other approaches represent a more promising path to lowering the Earth’s temperature. The critics are implying that we dismiss any threats from global warming; but the entire point of our chapter is to discuss global-warming solutions, so obviously that’s not the case.

The statements being circulated create the false impression that our analysis of the global-warming crisis is ideological and unscientific. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Izzy Stone

"Even Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong got in on the action before they'd even read the book."

Looks like Krugman's read some of it now and found some reading comprehension problems in you guys.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/superfreakonomics-on-climate-part-1/

actuator

Considering that:

1. The planet has not warmed as significantly as the AGW crowd would have us believe and appears to have begun cooling after 1998.

2. There are indications the planet will cool for as much as 30 years before warming again.

3. Warmer periods have been better for human life and survivability than colder.

4. CO2 is a trace element that promotes plant life and therefore the animal life that depends on it.

It would seem that perhaps we and our governments should focus more on real toxic environmental impactors and less on using CO2 emissions as a means for extracting more taxes and making life more difficult for us.

a_c

It is your critics that have a blind religious need for global warming to be true as conventionally understood. Yet they avoid solutions like geoengineering and nuclear power that would not raise the status of white liberal yuppies relative to the rest of the countries. This shows that they are not truly concerned with global warming per se, but simply are trying to raise their own status.

Oxpo

Why is the phase "Global Cooling" in the title then? It's been pointed out that there will be a number of people who will only see this book on the shelves of an airport bookstore. Even if you qualify the "Global Cooling" aspect of your title in the text, the folks who never read the book but saw the title will still be mislead. As for geo-engineering, I'd say the authors are probably letting their boyhood love of science fiction novels to get the best of them...

Kevin!

Everything you say here is consistent with the detailed ClimateProgress critique, which talks entirely about how your proposed solution is unscientific and based on induced errors.

ClimateProgress says, in essence, that you attack certain mitigation strategies (solar power, collective action, etc) based on your own estimation of the economic threat of global warming (far less alarming then most) in favor of a very risky, outlandish solution (spraying goo into the atmosphere).

You can embrace rising global temperatures as a manmade phenomenon and still write a stupid, misleading book. Get the science of mitigation wrong, screw up the math of global warming, and peddle an "easy" solution with little foundation. Done!

ClimateProgress' point is: you are not scientists. You are economists. You have not independently tested the claims of your authorities, and are not aware of the scientific consensus respecting global warming. How do you KNOW that these people you quote are correct?

Read more...

cirby

Don't worry about it.

Just the bare fact that you sorta, kinda, maybe questioned part of the AGW theory puts you squarely in the "opposition" camp with many of the people who really, really want to believe that Global Warming is the single most important issue facing mankind. Eventually.

You're "denialists" now, and nothing you can say will redeem you in their eyes.

Brad Johnson

"The statements being circulated create the false impression that our analysis of the global-warming crisis is ideological and unscientific. Nothing could be further from the truth."

You call global warming a "religion."

That's about as ideological and unscientific as you can get.

Grant

Oxpo - It can hardly be fair to blame Levitt and Dubner for the fact that America is filled with non-readers who will believe anything they hear in a soundbite. That's a deeper societal problem. It is perhaps the oldest cliche of print culture that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. That extends to SuperFreakonomics.

Azhrie139

"SuperFreakonomics isn't even on sale yet, and the attacks on our chapter about global warming are already underway." Thats because parts of the text were available on amazon. At least until you or your company had it removed. Unfortunetly for you weak attempt at damage control most of the important incompetences in research and questionable ethical journalistic behavior have been extracted, so unless you are now releasing a newly edited version in a couple days, only the gullible are going to fall for this nonesense.

Andrew

Then why is your co-author posting on this blog BBC articles claiming that global warming is no longer happening?

Quill

Oxpo,

I read a lot of science fiction when I was a boy, and now I know how preposterous it all was. I mean, there were stories about tourists in space, hand-held wireless communication devices that could fit in your ear, and China emerging as a power and sending people into space. There was even a story about a computer that held all the knowledge of the world and people could just dial in and learn about history, pop culture or science for free.

Obviously, Asimov et al were rather silly.

Thorstein Veblen

This is not a rebuttal. We need a point-by-point rebuttal. Your sources are saying you quoted them out of context. Your critics are showing clear instances where you guys got your facts wrong. You need to give us evidence that, for example, solar panels are black and not also blue, that mainstream thought was that the world was cooling in the 1970s when people are saying that was not what mainstream thought was then.

You should get to "work" a bit quicker on these issues.

bikerider

You write: " Meaningfully reducing global carbon emissions has proven to be difficult, if not impossible. This isn't likely to change, for the reasons we discuss in the book. Consequently, other approaches represent a more promising path to lowering the Earth's temperature. " Actually, even though meaningful reduction is difficult, it might still be the most promising approach.

Traciatim

"The bottom line is that the foundation of these attacks is essentially fraudulent . . . "

Much like a lot of the data used to support catastrophic anthropogenic global warming/climate change.

Fred

Science can prove that global warming is a farce driven by the far left politics and those that want no progress by mankind. When is America going to wake up and throw out the bums. Fred

David

You guys should also check out what Ezra Klein had to say about your drunk driving section over at his Washington Post Blog.

I can't wait to read your replies to these criticisms. I'm a big fan of the first book but this stuff seems pretty damning.

ethicalBob

@Oxpo,

If they are only reading the cover (which is entirely designed to get you to be curious about the book and read it) - then they have no reason to be critical of the book, or should be 'mis-led' by their laziness from not actually reading the book.

If you base your decisions on a single quote, enticement statement, or soundbyte, you are making woefully informed choices. This is a significant problem with how many people receive their 'facts' today .

repeat after me... Never. Judge. A. Book. By.... (you know the rest).

watchdog committee

Dear Actuator;

The problem is whether the temperature has changed up or down relative to environmental changes on this planet and relative to other planets. We now can answer the two sides of this question- and I bet there is cause to be real concerned. Taking it down to a very basic level-- make a mess, clean it up and some messes (if you let them go for too long) are impossible to clean up. I wonder about people who make judgments on this question based upon their values, suppositions etc. That is not science. It has been said that "ignorance is bliss." Well, I guess if you are dead, it is bliss. Sure, there are some people who have the sort of metabolism where they can eat anything-- but how many, and even they need to be concerned about what eating too much junk is doing to their bodies. So re the economy-- we need a regulatory mechanism that works and that holds people accountable. Yes, there are some corporations who are not greedy. But having just bought some stock and paying 650. for the opportunity only to find out that a friend paid for the exact same transaction 19.95. I say-- greed is still in and needs to be monitored asap-

Read more...

Tank

I don't think the issue is that your analysis is ideological and unscientific as it is utterly incompetent. Actually, I'd surmise that your analysis is primarily profit-driven. Nothing sells like reflexive contrarianism.

I thought your first book was flatly terrible, but that was mostly because it was poorly written and fairly repetitive. At least it was a credible attempt to inform the reader, though. I guess that was too much to ask on this go-round.

Azhrie139

Sorry clarification ",but poorly constructed and research content" should be "but point out the poorly constructed and researched content"