Superfreakonomics is the sequel to Freakonomics. Chapter 5 is on climate change. You can google it to find out that dozens of people from Krugman to the Nature Climate Blog to Realclimate have weighed on in how wrong chapter 5 is. A quick summary: Levitt & Dubner are basically claiming that geoengineering by shooting sulfur into the stratosphere is the quick easy fix to global warming, so why aren't we doing that instead of trying the expensive option of reducing CO2 emissions? While there are quite a number of factual errors in their chapter, the counter is basically several-fold: 1) stratospheric sulfate cooling will not perfectly counter all the effects of CO2 warming. 2) stratospheric sulfates have other effects other than just cooling. 3) if we keep emitting CO2, then we'd have to keep increasing the sulfate injections... and if we then ever _stopped_ the sulfate injections, we'd get decades of warming happening in a year - it would be catastrophic. 4) CO2 has other effects than just warming: eg, ocean acidification.
Well, Levitt apparently finally got around to responding to this last point on an interview on the Diane Rehm show (and it is odd that he didn't address it in his chapter, given that one of his main sources for the geoengineering information was Ken Caldeira, an acidification expert), and stated:
"Of course, ocean acidification is an important issue. Now, there are ways to deal with ocean acidification, right, it's actually, that's actually, we know exactly how to un-acidifiy the oceans, is to pour a bunch of base into it, so, so if that turns out to be an incredibly big problem, then we can deal with that."
I don't know about anyone else, but... I would think that the average 3rd grader could figure out that this could be a problem. After all, we're basically injecting several gigatons (that's several billion metric tons, equal to, well, the weight of all the coal and oil and natural gas that we burn every year) of CO2 (and therefore, a weak acid) into the oceans. In order to neutralize that, we'd presumably need several gigatons of some kind of base. Now, aside from the difficulties of producing several gigatons of base and scattering it in the oceans, one might think that there could possibly be some side effects from this? Of course, I bet Levitt could find a solution to that too. Perhaps terraforming Mars and moving us all there?
I have two pieces of homework for Mr. Levitt:
1) Read classic children's songs: http://www.poppyfields.net/poppy/songs/oldwoman.html
2) Watch Futurama: http://www.tvtdb.com/futurama/transcripts/5x01.php
"Thus solving the problem once and for all!"