Altruism is discussed in the third chapter, and uses examples of the murder of Kitty Genovesecrime rates as affected by television, and economic experimental games such as prisoner's dilemmaultimatumand the work of John A.
While some early adopters of unleaded-fuel cars might have done it for environmental reasons, the vast majority of people did it first because it was cheaper, and second, because after a while there was no longer an option. Synopsis[ edit ] The explanatory note states that the theme of the book explores the concept that we all work for a particular reward.
The first thing to note is that these issues have not been dealt with by forcing people to think about the consequences every time they make a decision. Unfortunately, the real world still has an ozone layer, winds that depend on temperature gradients that cause European winters to warm after volcanic eruptions, rainfall that depends on the solar heating at the surface of the ocean and decreases dramatically after eruptions, clouds that depend on the presence of condensation nuclei, plants that have specific preferences for direct or diffuse light, and marine life that relies on the fact that the ocean doesn't dissolve calcium carbonate near the surface.
The issues I listed above are the 'known unknowns' — things we know that we don't know to quote a recent US defense secretary.
To be a little more charitable, it is possible that what was meant was that you can't expect humans to consciously modify their behaviour all the time based on a desire to limit carbon emissions.
Instead, almost all existing mitigation ideas rely on aligning individual self-interest with societal goals to reduce emissions — usually by installing some kind of carbon price or through mandates such as the CAFE standards.
The role of the economist should be to find ways to make that alignment of individual and collective interest easier, not to erroneously declare it can't possibly be done.
For some background on geo-engineering, read our previous pieces: Climate Change methadone? The genius of the original book lay in its ability to turn hard data into stories as interesting as the best anecdotes. Can a sex change boost your salary?
The geo-engineering option that is being talked about here is the addition of SO2 to the stratosphere where it oxidises to SO4 sulphate aerosols which, since they are reflective, reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the ground. Yet in their rather smug preface, the authors say that they believe the second book "is easily better than the first".