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Type Paper
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. David C. Denkenberger & Joshua M. Pearce. Cost-effectiveness of interventions for alternate food in the United States to address agricultural catastrophes. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 27 (2018), pp. 278-289. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.10.014 open access

The literature suggests there is ~0.3 percent chance per year of full-scale nuclear war. This event would have ~20 percent probability of causing U.S. mass starvation due to collapse of conventional agriculture from smoke blocking the sun. Alternate foods exploit fossil fuels (e.g. methane digesting bacteria) and stored biomass (e.g. mushrooms growing on dead trees) and are technically capable of saving all Americans from starving. However, current awareness is low and the technologies need to be better developed. This Monte Carlo study investigates the economics of three interventions including planning, research and development. Even the upper bound of $20,000 per life saved is far lower than the millions of dollars typically paid to save an American life. Therefore, it should be a high priority to implement these interventions as they would improve American resilience and reduce the possibility of civilization collapse.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

existential risk; nuclear terrorism; alternate food; global catastrophic risk; Monte Carlo; United States

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]

News[edit | edit source]

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Authors Joshua M. Pearce
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Translations Chinese
Related 1 subpages, 42 pages link here
Impact 343 page views
Created October 17, 2017 by Joshua M. Pearce
Modified February 23, 2024 by Maintenance script
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