Opinion

The Great Debate

from The Great Debate UK:

A freakonomic view of climate change

Ahead of a U.N. summit in Copenhagen next month, scepticism is growing that an agreement will be reached on a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012.

The protocol set targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are believed to be responsible for the gradual rise in the Earth's average temperature. Many scientists say that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is key to preventing climate change.

But authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner argue in their new book SuperFreakonomics that humanity can take an alternative route to try and save the planet.

"If the goal is to stop warming then geo-engineering solutions are worth considering because they are far cheaper, probably much more do-able and easily reversible," Dubner told Reuters before a talk at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London.

Related vlog: How to become a freakonomist

from The Great Debate UK:

How to become a freakonomist

What do you do when you are trained as an economist, but find economics too complex?

Become a freakonomist, of course.

Steven D. Levitt, co-author of  the freshly published  SuperFreakonomics, decided to "take the tools of economics and apply them to the kind of questions that no self-respecting economist would ever want to be related to -- like: does the name that you give your children affect their life outcomes; what are the underlying economics of prostitution; or, is your estate agent ripping you off?"

Levitt, who teaches economics at the University of Chicago, co-wrote SuperFreakonomics and an earlier book titled Freakonomics with New York journalist Stephen J. Dubner.

  •