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Type Paper
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Denkenberger, D.C. & Pearce, J.M. Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Alternate Food to Address Agricultural Catastrophes Globally. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 7 (3), 205-215 (2016). doi:10.1007/s13753-016-0097-2 open access

The literature suggests there is about a 1 % risk per year of a 10 % global agricultural shortfall due to catastrophes such as a large volcanic eruption, a medium asteroid or comet impact, regional nuclear war, abrupt climate change, and extreme weather causing multiple breadbasket failures. This shortfall has an expected mortality of about 500 million people. To prevent such mass starvation, alternate foods can be deployed that utilize stored biomass. This study developed a model with literature values for variables and, where no values existed, used large error bounds to recognize uncertainty. Then Monte Carlo analysis was performed on three interventions: planning, research, and development. The results show that even the upper bound of USD 400 per life saved by these interventions is far lower than what is typically paid to save a life in a less-developed country. Furthermore, every day of delay on the implementation of these interventions costs 100–40,000 expected lives (number of lives saved multiplied by the probability that alternate foods would be required). These interventions plus training would save 1–300 million expected lives. In general, these solutions would reduce the possibility of civilization collapse, could assist in providing food outside of catastrophic situations, and would result in billions of dollars per year of return.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

Agricultural catastrophe, Alternate food, Global catastrophic risk, Intervention cost-effectiveness

See also[edit | edit source]

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Feeding Everyone No Matter What
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Additional Information[edit source]

Davos IDRC Conference[edit source]

FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgPage data
Authors Joshua M. Pearce
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 37 pages link here
Impact 369 page views
Created September 23, 2016 by Joshua M. Pearce
Modified July 14, 2023 by Felipe Schenone
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