SuperFreakonomics, the forthcoming sequel to the pop-economics bestseller Freakonomics by economists Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, devotes 44 pages to a contrarian view of climate change, calling global warming a “religion.” Much of the chapter praises Microsoft billionaire and scientific dilettante, Nathan Myhrvold, whose solution to global warming is to pump acid rain pollution into the atmosphere. Levitt and Dubner also claim that prominent climate scientist Ken Caldeira does not think carbon dioxide is the “right villain”:
Caldeira is thoroughly convinced that human activity is responsible for some global warming and is more pessimistic than Myhrvold about how future climate will affect humankind. He believes “we are being incredibly foolish emitting carbon dioxide” as we currently do. Yet his research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.
Levitt and Dubner’s portrayal of Caldeira is false. As he told Climate Progress’s Joseph Romm in an e-mail interview, he believes carbon dioxide is the central villain:
Every carbon dioxide emission adds to climate damage and increasing risk of catastrophic consequences. There is no safe level of emission. I compare CO2 emissions to mugging little old ladies.
Levitt and Dubner spend much of their time channeling conservative columnist George Will, complaining about a “drumbeat of doom” growing louder from “doomsayers” even though the average global temperature, they say, “has in fact decreased.” The book also repeats Will’s obsession with a supposed consensus about “global cooling” in the 1970s.