[ExI] Global catastrophic risk report

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun May 1 14:33:35 UTC 2016

On 2016-05-01 12:10, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> I came across the following:
> http://globalprioritiesproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Global-Catastrophic-Risk-Annual-Report-2016-FINAL.pdf
> ### It lists global warming (renamed "climate change") right at the 
> top, even ahead of nuclear war. Really? This is so ridiculous it 
> beggars imagination.

Heh. I happen to know a fair bit about this report, since it was 
partially written by people in my office (GPP is half FHI). There is a 
degree of politics involved in what gets listed, even though I regard it 
as far more objective than the World Economic Forum global risk report 
(which is about risk *perception*). Note that it is not a list of 
*existential* risks, but just stuff that could mess up the lives for a 
few billion.

Still, extreme tail climate change is something worth taking more 
seriously as a risk than our community normally does. Vanilla climate 
change is slow and people tend to overestimate its badness (at least 
compared to other GCRs and xrisks) but there is a tail of extreme 
possibility that is rarely spoken about - extremely uncertain, way 
outside what we know how to model well, potentially making sizeable 
regions uninhabitable. Even the greens rarely bring it up except as a 
scare story to get people to see vanilla climate change as something 
urgent; once the discussion about that starts they tend to focus on 
vanilla stuff and become very uneasy when you start querying them on 
preparation for saving parts of the current biosphere. But if you think 
it is rational to have some preparation for big asteroids, then you 
should regard it as rational to have some preparation for heading off or 
handling big climate risk.

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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