Prabhat Soni

I'm a 19-year old college kid studying CS, applied math and economics in Delhi. If you're interested to connect with me, chances are that I am as well! Feel free to contact me at psoni1019@gmail.com

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Prabhat Soni's Shortform

Thanks Ryan for your comment!

It seems like we've identified a crux here: what will be the total number of people living in Greenland in 2100 / world with 4 degrees warming?

 

I have disagreements with some of your estimates.

The total drylands population is 35% of the world population

Large populations currently reside in places like India, China and Brazil. These currently non-drylands could be converted to drylands in the future (and also possibly desertified). Thus, the 35% figure could increase in the future.

So less than 10% of those from drylands have left.

Drylands are categorised into {desert, arid, semi-arid, dry sub-humid}. It's only when a place is in the desert category, that people seriously consider moving out (for reference all of California comes under arid or semi-arid category). In the future, deserts could form a larger share of drylands, and less arid regions could form a smaller share. So, you could have more than 10% of people from places called "drylands" leaving in the future.

The total number of migrants, however, is 3.5% of world population.

Yes, that is correct. But that is also a figure from 2019. A more relevant question would be how many migrants would there be in 2100? I think it's quite obvious that as the Earth warms, the number of climate migrants will increase.

So suppose a billion people newly found themselves in drylands or desert, and that 5% migrated, making 50M migrants.

I don't really agree with the 5% estimate. Specifically for desertified lands, I would guess the %age of people migrating to be significantly higher.

Of the world's 300M migrants, Greenland currently has only ~10k.

This is a figure from 2020 and I don't think you can simply extrapolate this.

 

After revising my estimates to something more sensible, I'm coming with ~50M people in Greenland. So, Greenland would be far from being a superpower. I'm hesitant to share my calculations because my confidence level for my calculations is low -- I wouldn't be surprised if the actual number was upto 2 orders of magnitude smaller or greater.

A key uncertainity: Does desertification of large regions imply that in-country / local migration is useless?

 

The world, 4 degrees warmer. A map from Parag Khanna's book Connectography
Prabhat Soni's Shortform

High impact career for Danish people: Influencing what will happen with Greenland

Climate change could get really bad. Let's imagine a world with 4 degrees warming. This would probably mean mass migration of billions of people to Canada, Russia, Antartica and Greenland.

Out of these, Canada and Russia will probably have fewer decisions to make since they already have large populations and will likely see a smooth transition into a billion+ people country. Antarctica could be promising to influence, but it will be difficult for a single effective altruist since multiple large countries lay claims on Antarctica (i.e. more competition). Greenland however is much more interesting.

 

It's kinda easy for Danes to influence Greenland

Denmark is a small-ish country with a population of ~5.7 million people. There's really not much competition if one wants to enter politics (if you're a Dane you might correct me on this). The level of competition is much lower than conventional EA careers since you only need to compete with people within Denmark.

 

There are unsolved questions wrt Greenland

  1. There's a good chance Denmark will sell Greenland because they could get absurd amounts of money. Moreover, Greenland is not of much value to them since Denmark will mostly remain inhabitable and they don't have a large population to resettle. Do you sell Greenland to a peaceful/neutral country? To the highest bidder? Is it okay to sell it to a historically aggresive country? Are there some countries you want to avoid selling it to because they will gain too much influence? USA, China and Russia have shown interest in buying Greenland.
  2. Should Denmark just keep Greenland, allow mass immigration and become the next superpower?
  3. Should Greenland remain autonomous?

 

Importance

  1. Greenland, with a billion+ people living in it, could be the next superpower. Just like how most of the emerging technology (e.g. AI, biotechnology, nanotechnology) are developed in current superpowers like USA and China, future technologies could be developed in Greenland.
  2. In a world of extreme climate change, it is possible that 1-2 billion people could live in Greenland. That's a lot of lives you could influence.
  3. Greenland has a strategic geographic location. If a country with bad intentions buys Greenland, that could be catastrophic for world peace.
Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers

Another approach that targets high-schoolers that I can think of is promoting philosophy education in schools. How does EA outreach in schools compare with this?

RyanCarey's Shortform

I'd be curious to discuss if there's a case for Moscow. 80,000 Hours's lists being a Russia or India specialist under "Other paths we're excited about". The case would probably revolve around Russia's huge nuclear arsenal and efforts to build AI. If climate change were to become really bad (say 4 degrees+ warming), Russia (along with Canada and New Zealand) would become the new hub for immigration given it's geography  -- and this alone could make it one of the most influential countries in the world.

Prabhat Soni's Shortform

Some good, interesting critiques to effective altruism.

Short version: read https://bostonreview.net/forum/logic-effective-altruism/peter-singer-reply-effective-altruism-responses (5-10 mins)

Longer version: start reading from https://bostonreview.net/forum/peter-singer-logic-effective-altruism (~ 1 hour)

I think these critiques are fairly comprehensive. They probably cover like 80-90% of all possible critiques.

A central directory for open research questions

Yep, that's what I meant by "open source"! Awesome to hear you're taking this forward!

A central directory for open research questions

Hey, thanks for putting this together. I think it would be quite valuable to have these lists be put up on Effective Thesis's research agenda page. My reasoning for this is that Effective Thesis's research agenda page probably has more viewers than this EA Forum post or the Google Doc version of this post.

Additionally, if you agree with the above, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on how we could make Effective Thesis's research agenda page open source?

Suggest a question for Bruce Friedrich of GFI

Are you more optimistic about the future of plant-based meat or cell-based meat? Why?

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