Addressing climate change is one of our recommended causes working on safeguarding the long-term future. This page is a summary of our soon to be released research.
In spite of increased awareness of climate change, more than half of the CO2 that has ever been emitted has been emitted in the last 30 years. As a consequence, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen from 280ppm to 415ppm today, which is higher than they have been for at least hundreds of thousands of years. If current trends continue, by the end of the century, CO2 concentrations and global temperatures will be higher than they have been for tens of millions of years.
Greenhouses gases like CO2 and methane trap heat heading out from the Earth and so have a warming effect. Since the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures have increased by around 1°C, with most of the warming coming after 1980.
By emitting CO2, we all contribute to a problem with multi-millennial implications for the planet. Each time you drive your car, a sizeable fraction of the CO2 you release stays in the atmosphere for millennia. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures will only return back to natural levels after one million years.
This has a cost — rising sea levels already threaten coastal cities and island nations. In future, we can expect a higher occurrence of dangerous weather events, disrupting our food-production, and generally making the planet more difficult to live on. These long-lasting negative effects may increase the likelihood and potential severity of other risks to our long-term future.
That's why we think addressing climate change is among the best ways we can safeguard the long-term future.
Our current recommendation for the best place to donate is the Founders Pledge Climate Fund. The current strategy of the fund is to encourage energy innovation in neglected low carbon technologies, as well as policy leadership. The charities that they currently recommend include:
- The Clean Air Task Force - a US and Europe-based nonprofit that advocates for restrictions on fossil fuel power as well as a technology-agnostic approach decarbonisation and low carbon innovation
- Carbon180 - A US-based nonprofit that advocates for carbon capture and storage and negative emissions technology, both of which are neglected but important solutions in the fight against climate change.
- Terrapraxis - A small UK-based nonprofit that advocates for innovation in neglected low carbon technology, with a particular focus on nuclear power.
- Climate change executive summary (Founders Pledge)
- Climate Change: a risk assessment (King et al.)
- Climate sensitivity, sea level and atmospheric carbon dioxide (Hansen et al.)
- Climate change 2022 (IPCC)
This page was written by John Halstead.
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