Thursday, October 22, 2009

Annotated guide to an awesome debate (updated)

The recently released book Superfreakonomics has a chapter on Global Warming that has sparked off one of the most engaging debates that I've witnessed. The premise of that chapter, to paraphrase it (very)loosely, is that geo-engineering (read spraying sulphur or something into the atmosphere to cut off sunlight!) is better than improving efficiency of our current systems and conservation in general.

First the authors of the book got an ass-whipping by Paul Krugman. A lot of other experts got in on the fun as well. The authors, Levitt and Dubner, then did some defensive back-tracking. Krugman was relentless. Then Dubner did some underdog posturing in trying to explain himself. Then Myhrvold(the smartest guy in the world according to Bill Gates), who is an advocate of geo-engineering wrote a beautiful piece on how environmentalism has become political, almost a religion even. I admit that I agree with him a lot. This piece was a lot more persuasive than the one that the other fake-scientist, Michael Crichton, spat out. Anyway, I'm waiting for someone to point out to Myhrvold how he conveniently changed his stance from "Geo-engineering is a better solution" to "Geo-engineering is the last resort" in such a short time and still tries to claim sympathy by posing as a victim of a witch-hunt. This debate is not over I'm sure and I can't wait for more.

Update:
One more Krugman swipe.
The Levitt defence/defiance.
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