UPDATE: For an even bigger shocker, read Myhrvold’s “rebuttal,” which actually endorses my main critique (!): Nathan Myhrvold jumps the shark “” and jumps ship on Levitt and Dubner (on their blog!) asserting: “Geoengineering is proposed only as a last resort to try to reduce or cope with the even greater harms of global warming! “¦ The point of the chapter in SuperFreakonomics is that geoengineering might be good insurance in case we don’t get global warming under control.” Did he even read the book?
This post will shock you.
The sheer illogic and “patent nonsense” of the new book Superfreakonomics discussed in Part 1 is just the tip of the iceberg. What’s most worrisome is 1) who exactly has been peddling much of the nonsense and illogic to the authors — Nathan Myhrvold, the former CTO of Microsoft — and 2) who else may have been persuaded by his bullshit. The Myrhvold connection deserves special focus because it may help explain three puzzling things:
- Why does Bill Gates’ Foundation mostly ignore global warming? (see here)
- Why is Warren Buffett so wrong — and outspoken — about cap and trade? (see here)
- Why did Gates and Buffett visit the Athabasca tar sands — the biggest global warming crime ever — to satisfy “their own curiosity” but also “with investment in mind”? (see here).
According to the Superfreaks, Gates and Buffett went to the visit the tar sands (and other energy producers) with Myrhvold, giving him plenty of time to spread his misinformation to them. Moreover, the idea Myrhvold came away is simply stunning.
And yes, one always needs the caveat, “according to Levitt and Dubner,” because their reporting skills are so dreadful — they shoehorn everything they hear into whatever contrarian view they had decided to adopt. You shouldn’t take anything they say at face value. As we’ve seen, the primary climatologist the book relies on, Ken Caldeira, says “it is an inaccurate portrayal of me” and is “misleading” in “many” places. But I have reason to believe Myrhvold was given a draft to comment on — and if so, he was a willing participant in the defamation of his own reputation and that of his company “Intellectual Ventures.” Apparently, he really does push this piece of staggering illogic: