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What should EAs interested in climate change do?

by Louis_Dixon1 min read10th Jan 202018 comments



With climate change the #2 priority reported by EAs in the most recent survey, what should these EAs think about doing?

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8 Answers

Some related links:

More speculative questions (my own personal uninformed thoughts):

  • Regarding the tree planting option, can we breed trees which are less vulnerable to wildfires?
  • Regarding the marine cloud brightening option - could you make it doubly useful by going to areas which experience periodic flooding and spraying floodwaters up into the air? Maybe you could even get municipalities to pay you and make a business out of it.
  • Kelly and Zach Weinersmith wrote a book called Soonish which says (among other interesting things) that robots which automatically build buildings are on the horizon. To what extent could easy, cheap construction of new buildings and cities help mitigate sealevel rises and other global warming effects?
  • My brother has a physics degree and finds this to be a bit implausible: http://superchimney.org But it does make me wonder if there's a way to make money by buying land, terraforming it in a way that's good from a climate perspective, and selling the land after it's increased in value.

Founders Pledge is about to start a major research project on this soon and some of us are also thinking about writing a book on the topic fyi

The Effective Environmentalism group on Facebook compiled an Effective Environmentalism Resources page which contains an (almost) comprehensive list of EA-related climate change resources with charity recommendations, articles, posts by EA organisations, many with summaries.

Anyone can suggest resources directly to the page, if there are any missing recommendations please feel free to do so! Many (but not all) of the links in the comments are included on the doc.

The Effective Environmentalism group itself is a useful place to have EA related climate discussions.

I think the most obvious thing is prioritization; i.e. "figuring out what to do". My impression is that there's a considerable amount of interesting work to do to apply an EA-mindset to climate change and get a better sense of the opportunities and their effectiveness.

I wrote a bit that's related: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Df2uFGKtLWR7jDr5w/ozziegooen-s-shortform?commentId=ZT5ArGKSWsctoWrZF

See also: What can a technologist do about climate change? (a)

Which also happens to be one of the most beautiful websites I've ever seen.

I'm curious about the work that Citizens' Climate Lobby is doing. They push for a carbon tax that comes back as a public dividend. They're doing lobbying now, but I'd be curious about how their odds might improve if tackled as a series of ballot initiatives.


A post from EA at Harvard from 2017 recommends the following:

  • Working with local partners to advocate against coal power in China, India and Southeast Asia
  • Growing capacity and coordination at state and local levels in the U.S
  • Contributing to one or more climate philanthropy bodies that strategically target climate finance interventions