When climate change risks are discussed on this forum I mostly see it framed in terms of whether or not it is an existential risk. Considering a large part if EA is focused on reducing global poverty and the suffering of all living creatures I’m surprised not to see the potential impact of climate change in these areas discussed more often.
Is it possible that the potential of climate change to increase global poverty and suffering (of both humans and animals) is large enough to warrant more preventative attention within EA?
It’s all very well that the likelihood of existential risks are small but if a huge amount more living beings will suffer or die as a result of climate change that seems like a future worth even more coordinated effort to avoid.
As an example: at the moment charity evaluators like Give Well and The Life You Can Save recommend charities like Against Malaria Foundation as an effective way to deal with a disease like malaria. But climate change could massively increase insect born diseases which means the scale of the problem will get loads worse. Isn’t it worth putting more effort into preventing a problem from developing than treating a symptom when it’s too late?
Or would the argument that “enough other people are working on this” still outweigh these potential risks in terms of where EA energy is directed?
N.B These are actual questions, not necessarily arguments. I don’t feel like I know enough about the subject and I’d like to know more!
Open Phil (then GiveWell Labs) explored climate change pretty early on in their history, including the nearer-term humanitarian effects. Giving What We Can also compared climate change efforts to health interventions. (Each page is a summary page which links to other pages going into more detail.)
Thanks Kit! I look forward to reading them.