More superfreakonomics
October 19, 2009, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Geoengineering, Media

Little of science or policy import in this post: mostly process.

Brad DeLong (all right one more i gotta correct the record) has used the Google cache to come up with pretty clear evidence that, pace Dubner (who may have been misinformed), there was originally a look-inside-the-book option for Superfreakonomics which has subsequently been withdrawn.

Joe Romm (anatomy of a debunking) posts quite a lot of correspondence with Ken Caldeira, some of which was in Dubner’s earlier post. One specific point to stress: Ken is in this email as elsewhere very clear that he supports geoengineering research and not geoengineering implementation under current conditions. That crucial subtlety does seem to be missing from the Superfreakonomics account of his work. In general, reading this through, it seems to me that my impression of the chapter last night is one I broadly still hold.

Paul Krugman looks at some lessons learned and points well enunciated in superfreakingmeta.

I note, by the way, that Google is currently of the opnion that no-one is using the term superfrakonomics, or for that matter superfrak’donomics. Given the number of BSG fans in the better parts of the blogosphere this surprises me…

Those interested in more on geoengineering from this blog, rather than a load of links to today’s controversy, might want to browse further in the geoengineering category; a nice start is this post and the article it links to, and the IMO post is quite fun too.

Update: missed this, an email exchange with Superfreakonomics author Steven Levitt. He doesn’t really get some of the issues, but does say:

I do think also that there is something to be said for raising some skepticism about the current climate models and predictions…they are stated and restated as if they are fact, when in practice I suspect, and good scientists agree, that there is enormous uncertainty and things we cannot or at least could not know.

Probably, though, our message on geoengineering would have come through better if we had written the chapter differently.


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