A portfolio approach towards effective environmentalism?

post by Bede · 2020-07-27T08:48:29.916Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · EA · GW · 2 comments

TL;DR: I’m trying to construct a portfolio for sustainable investing in effective environmentalism. I’ve read through most of the resources in the Effective Environmentalism Resources but couldn’t find exactly what I’m looking for so thought I’d post something here (apologies if I’ve overlooked something!)


Hi everyone!

I’ve begun to notice an increase in EA interest towards effective environmentalism (e.g. effective solutions for mitigating climate change). Given my limited knowledge on this topic, I’ve recently decided to look at these ideas in more depth, such as the excellent set of resources found in EA resources on effective environmentalism.

One thing I’ve however noticed is that there are lots of recommendations of places to give (in terms of philanthropy), or potentially effective technologies, but never attempts at combining the two to create a portfolio approach [? · GW] for effective environmentalism.

I imagine that this is too speculative/difficult and that there are multiple models one could generate, but even a few toy models might be interesting, such as:

1) A list of possible solutions that could combat environmental issues (e.g. mitigating climate change through reducing factory farming, investing in some potentially breakthrough technologies/companies, natural solutions such as reforestation, investing in climate bonds, and so forth)

2) List of policies/ways to implement such solutions

3) List of relevant bodies/companies involved with such solutions

4) (Something which I’ve not seen) Attempts to construct a longtermist portfolio of (potential) effective technologies/solutions and policies in terms of their risk/reward with respect to effective environmentalism

I’d be really interested to see if anyone happens to know of a document like this (even if it’s just a few pages) or is currently writing up something similar so that I can understand how people think about this area and what’s realistic/been done before :)

Thanks!

2 comments

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comment by Louis_Dixon (bdixon) · 2020-07-27T11:13:58.212Z · score: 12 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I believe Founders Pledge is working on a climate change fund with similar objectives to be launched later this year. Their current recommendations are here. There's also ClimateWorks.

comment by jackva · 2020-07-27T20:30:14.148Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes we are, though not necessarily with a portfolio approach in the sense described above.

I think it is worth asking whether the EA community should pursue a portfolio approach to climate. Overall, EA funding levels of climate orgs are still quite low and one could make the argument that we should focus on funding the most effective organizations first before designing a broad portfolio, the latter seems more a task for a potential future where EA aligned donors are influencing a larger amount of climate funding.

That being said, we are looking at a broader portfolio of options and will certainly feature some diversity in the Climate Fund. But it will unlikely be distributed across all intervention areas since some seem much more effective than others.