17 karmaJoined Sep 2019Working (6-15 years)


https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/amdReARfSvgf5PpKK/phil-trammell-philanthropy-timing-and-the-hinge-of-history for notes on the linked talk.

Is anyone acting on this at the individual-funder level?; if you believe that giving in the present is substantially better than in the future (for any of the four reasons in the talk, say), should you take on debt to do so? At what rate? Anyone trying this?

Hey, welcome to the forum and thanks for posting this! (And for Kelly's interview on Volts - it seems complementary to this report).

Some observations and questions -
. There is an interesting parallel between the "portfolio approach" discussed in the interview (as to the role of SRM) and Johannes Ackva's line of thought re:  "hedges" in his interview on Volts.

. It seems to me that the report's audience / approach is to advocate for increased federal funding of very specific science program areas.

  1. What roles do you see, if any, for private philanthropy to fill gaps until federal funding is available?
  2. Have you identified any areas in the Appendix's recommendations that are more or less "shovel ready"? Any labs/PIs already ready?
  3. If you had to prioritize, which areas would you fund first?
  4. Concretely, how do you think about funding your recommendations vs. additional funding for mitigation (as measured by  reduced climate damages)? "2x more effective up to a point and then stops?", "8x in an RCP3.4 world, 1x in RCP1.9"? something else? Or do you evaluate your recommendations differently?


Coming back to this - I made a transcript of this conversation for folks who'd like to read it / prefer text - https://ops101.org/archives/000353.html

I found this conversation pretty enlightening - +1 to the takeaways above;  many of them are applicable to any problem where technical solutions need to both be developed and deployed.

It's pretty important to remember the marginal utility of dollars is not constant (contrast GiveWell's health interventions); that damage can be highly non-linear (again contrast health interventions); and that small but smart philanthropy can have outside impacts by considering time/intervening early (contrast patient philanthropy). 

FWIW - running an instance requires a lot of resources (operator time, care/feeding of services, moderation); I'd encourage only going down that route if enough folks are lined up to help run it!

Answer by vsrinivasNov 23, 202213

- Top line, donate ~25% of income, matching 2021 in nominal (not inflation-adjusted, which I should start doing) dollars. 83% of the way there.

- Took GWWC in 2018, so there's a 10% floor for EA organizations.
 So far, Clean Air Task Force, GiveWell, and Against Malaria Foundation,
 split roughly 4:3:3. The thinking here --
1) GiveWell and AMF are pretty high on effectiveness lists and have been consistently so. It's easy to understand what they're doing and they're solid defaults.
2) Clean Air Task Force is a new thing for me, an EA-ish organization that takes on policy interventions and lobbying even. I do sometimes find it hard to figure out what they're doing as distinct from RMI or RFF, say; but they're well regarded in climate circles and recently in EA lists, so it was worth adding this year.
3) I've found it easier to start with donations where I can understand the impact. I'd like to build up ambition - both on the giving-amount and being-comfortable-with-failure axes, but have slowly done only the former. Would like to do the latter, Ackva's writing on this has been a good "do better" call for me.

Open questions -
 1) Giving Green recommended Evergreen Collective (the 501c3) but didn't take a position on the 501c4, Evergreen Action. What do folks think about them?
 2) How do you begin to evaluate lobbying for specific legislation or rule-making? First order effects are easy, but often what passes through a process only vaguely resembles what was advocated-for; there's a kind of "put the ball in play" effect I'm interested in capturing w/ this question.
 3) In the past I've given to Nuclear Threat Initiative and associated organizations (Arms Control Association, Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, ...), but I did so for reasons that had nothing to do with X-risk. How do you evaluate or compare anything in this space?

- I'm just a baby EA, so I do a lot of giving outside of EA. Remainder is primarily to US state-level climate policy organizations, roughly weighted by - 1) a state's grid emissions intensity; 2) organization's
 capacity to intervene in regulatory proceedings (evidenced by prior interventions); 3) my ability to evaluate the organization. Primarily focused on Fresh Energy (MN), Climate Solutions (WA), Montana Renewable Energy Association (MT), Western Resources Advocates (intermountain west). Two national organizations - Carbonplan and Union of Concerned Scientists. Former because the quality of the data they produce has caused some rethinking, latter for legacy reasons.