In SuperFreakonomics, Levitt and Dubner write of Ken Caldeira (page 184), “Yet his research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.” What he really believes, as he wrote me last weekend, is:
I compare CO2 emissions to mugging little old ladies”¦. It is wrong to mug little old ladies and wrong to emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The right target for both mugging little old ladies and carbon dioxide emissions is zero.
Caldeira, the primary climatologist Superfreakonomics relies on, has himself updated his website (click here) to debunk the book’s characterization of his views. He puts under his picture the following quote:
“Carbon dioxide is the right villain,” says Caldeira, “insofar as inanimate objects can be villains.”
I noted in Part 1 that Ken Caldeira, wrote me last weekend:
If you talk all day, and somebody picks a half dozen quotes without providing context because they want to make a provocative and controversial chapter, there is not much you can do. The standard way to protect against this, of course, is to give short interviews.
Another thing they said that was misleading (out of many) is that….
Oh, you’ll have to tune in later for that mistake. For now, I just wanted to make clear that Caldeira does think these guys misrepresented him and made many misleading statements. He also wrote me:
So, yes, my representation in the Superfreakonomics book is damaging to me because it is an inaccurate portrayal of me. The problem is the inaccurate portrayal, not my actions or statements.
The well-known Berkeley economics professor and blogger J. Bradford DeLong has begun his multiple takedowns of SuperFreakonomics. In one headline, he echoes a query from TNR‘s Brad Plummer, Does “Superfreakonomics” Need A Do-Over?
DeLong also prints an email from Dubner, which I excerpt: