The follow-up to the bestseller Freakonomics — the aptly named Superfreakonomics — has barely hit the shelves, but it has already caused a whirlwind of controversy on the worldwide blogosphere.
Part of that debate has to do with one particular chapter on Al Gore, which is usually referred to as the Global Cooling chapter. Journalist Stephen Dubner, one half of the feisty writing duo which includes Steven Levitt, explains himself to Metro.
“I would never call myself a climate expert. Our first book was prominent, a bit of fun. Like whacking a piñata and seeing what comes out. I’m not a Sumo wrestler, nor a member of the Klu Klux Klan, nor a prostitute. There’s this idea that you have to be in guild to comment on a situation,” says Dubner.
“I don’t know why everyone keeps calling it the Global Cooling chapter (The correct title being What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common) … There’s been so much controversy surrounding our ‘green’ chapter simply due to the fact this is an industry with huge amounts at stake.”
At the very beginning of the chapter, Dubner and Levitt do a backflip to the 1970s, when headlines were warning not of global warming, but of global cooling. That the situation could have so changed in the space of 40 years is surprising, and the two lead us into theories to cool the earth.
“What has caused people to get most agitated is our suggestion that carbon dioxide is not the monstrous villain it is made out to be. For those with interests in non-carbon energy sources, there is a lot at stake both politically and financially in this statement,” explains Dubner.
What Dubner and Levitt mainly focus on is the idea of geo engineering, finding ways to cool down the planet other than preventing climate change via cutting carbon emissions.
“We’re heading towards cataclysm and carbon mitigation alone is not enough,” explains Dubner. “The problem today is that people think that the global efforts made towards cutting carbon emissions mean they can go about their loves as normal, its almost an excuse for them to pollute. There’s no excuse to forget about alternative energy.”