525Giessen, GermanyJoined Jul 2018


Hi, I’m Florian. I am enthusiastic about working on large scale problems that require me to learn new skills and extend my knowledge into new fields and subtopics. My main interests are climate change, existential risks, feminism, history, hydrology and food security. 




Surely, they are more modern than utilitarianism. Utilitarianism has been developed in the 19th century, while all the other ones mentioned are from the 20th century. And it is not their "novelty" which is interesting, but that they are a direct follow up and criticism of things like utilitarianism.  Also, I don't think that post above was an endorsement of using fascism, but instead a call to understand the idea why people even started with fascism in the first place. 

The main contribution of the above mentioned fields of ideas to EA is that they highlight that reason is not a strong tool, as many EA think it is. You can easily bring yourself into bad situation, even if you follow reason all the way. Reason is not something objective, but born from your standpoint in the world and the culture you grow up in. 

And if EA (or you) have considered things like existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism I'd love to see those arguments why it is not important to EA. Never seen anything in this regard. 


It seems to me that we are talking about different definitions about what political means. I agree that in some situations it can make sense to not chip in political discussions, to not get pushed to one side.  I also see that there are some political issues where EA has taken a stance like animal welfare. However, when I say political I mean what are the reason for us doing things and how do we convince other people of it? In EA there are often arguments that something is not political, because there has been an "objective" calculation of value. However, there is almost never a justification why something was deemed important, even though when you want to change the world in a different way, this is the important part. Or on a more practical level why are QUALYs seen as the best way to measure outcomes in many cases? Using this and not another measure is choice which has to be justified. 


The main point I took from video was that Abigail is kinda asking the question: "How can a movement that wants to change the world be so apolitical?" This is also a criticism I have of many EA structures and people. I even have come across people who view EA and themselves as not political, even as they are arguing for longtermism. The video also highlights this.

When you are quantifying something you don't become objective all over sudden. You cannot quantify everything, so you have to make a choice on what you want to quantify. And this is a political choice. There is not objective source of truth that tells you that for example quality adjusted life years are the best objective measure. People choose what makes the most sense to them given their background. But you could easily switch it to something else. There is only your subjective choice on what you want to focus. And I would really appreciate if this would be highlighted more in EA.

Right now the vibe is often "We have objectively compared such and such and therefore the obvious choice is this intervention or cause." But this just frames personal preferences on what is important as an objective truth about the world. Would be great if this subjectivity would be acknowledged more.

And one final point the video also hints at: In EA basically all modern philosophy outside of consequentialism is ignored. Even though much of that philosophy is explicitly developed to crticise pure reason and consequentialism. But if you read EA material you get the impression to only notable philosophers of the 20th century are Peter Singer and Derek Parfit.


Good idea. I'll look into this when I find the time and report back here. 


Our conversation kinda feels like to me that we are talking a bit past each other. As I understand your message you are saying that the shift in temperature focus is due to the Paris Agreement. This is also what we say in the paper. However, you disagree in the conclusions from that, by saying that this does not imply a focus shift. 

And this is the part I don't get. If the IPCC focuses on different things due to the Paris Agreement, how is this not a shift in research focus? Especially after you said in your post before that your statement is based on a strong increase in the mentions of RCP8.5, which I showed to not have happened. 

Concerning your statement: "I especially don't think it is true to say that the climate science literature is ignoring impacts of more than 3 degree". The paper does not claim that we ignore impacts of more than 3 degrees,  merely that our focus has shifted away from that. 


Could it be that our crux is that my model is something like:

  • Temperatures are more important to look at, because they are what ultimately decides the impact of climate change. Therefore,  a shift in them is really concerning.

While your model seems to me: 

  • Only RCPs are important and it does not really matter which temperatures they ultimately look at. As long as RCP8.5 is studied a lot, you cannot say that higher warming is underresearched. 

We also looked into the RCP mentions. Going from AR5 to AR6 RCP8.5 increases ~ 10 %. Same goes for RCP2.5. The change is mainly caused by RCP6.0 mentioned less. RCP4.5 roughly stays the same. 

As the RCPs weren't really used before AR5, we cannot compare it to anything before that. This is also one of the reason for using temperature, as we can look compare all reports and not only the last two. 

The shift in temperature mentions is way stronger than the shift in RCPs. Especially if you compare it to the reports before AR5. 

I think the shift in temperature focus is partly caused by a shift in RCPs, partly by more constrained values of equilibrium climate sensitivity and mainly by the focus on the Paris Agreement. 

I guess my main questions to you are: 

  • What do you think caused the shift in temperature focus?
  • What do you think this shift implies, if not a change in research focus?

Alright, that's settled then. Also looking forward to resolution!


I get your reasons and I hope I lose the 100 $. I also think the probable temperature for 2100 will continue to go down. However, we still have quite a long way to go to get to 2°C. 

The IPCC does not really attach probabilities to temperatures. Therefore, it is not really possible to directly go for the IPCC reports as resolution. One possibility would be the Internationale Energy Agency. They regularly publish estimates of likely temperature trajectories. Their current estimate is that with currently (in 2021) stated policies we'll get 2.6°C in 2100. We could use the median estimate for stated policies in their report for 2032.  

As they have been around since 1974, it seems likely they will continue to exist in until 2032. However, they might chance the way they do their reporting, so I am not sure if this is a great way to resolve this.


I don't see how this contradicts with the paper above. It does not say we should focus on RCP8.5 or a warming of 4.3°C. The main takeaway is the IPCC reports now focus on lower temperatures as they did before. I think this implies a shift in research. If you have another explanation for this I'd be happy to hear it. 


Thanks for your comment. Unsurprisingly, I am less optimistic. While I also think that climate news gotten better over the last years, I still think there is a big chance we end up at over 2°C. The Twitter thread you linked to says "It finds that, if all the countries of the world fulfilled their climate commitments, the world would most likely limit climate change to just under 2 degrees C." That's quite a big if. 

The post by John and Johannes mainly argues that extreme warming is not likely, which I also agree with. However, I see the research gap more in the range 2°-3.5°C. 

Finally, even if our median trajectory would aim below 2 °C, we still should do more research above 2°C . Climate damage does increase considerably for higher temperatures and due to uncertainties in the climate sensitivity we still could end up there. 

I'm happy to take on your second bet. Let me know how you want to implement that. 

I'd also consider the first one depending on the implementation. However, betting is easier if you have lots of money, which I don't. 

Load more