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Climate Treaty Negotiators Are Taking the Wrong Approach, Say Game Theorists 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-the-game dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Climate treaty negotiators would do well to have a little chat with some game theorists, according to this article. The fundamental approach they've been taking for the last several years is flawed, these researchers say, and they can prove it. From the article: 'The scientists gave members of a 10-member group their country’s “treasure”: a 20-euro national savings account, plus a fund for spending on emissions reductions that consisted of 10 black chips worth 10 cents apiece and 10 red chips worth one euro apiece. Each person could then contribute any number of these chips to a common pool. The contributed chips represented greenhouse gas reduction strategies that were relatively inexpensive (black) or expensive (red). Players could communicate freely about their plans for how many chips they intended to contribute.'"
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Climate Treaty Negotiators Are Taking the Wrong Approach, Say Game Theorists

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  • Poor Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Elbereth (58257) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:54AM (#41990871) Journal

    In frustration, I read the linked article, because I couldn't tell what the actual was about, from the Slashdot summary. Here's a better summary:

    Researchers gave each person a national treasury of €20. In order to avert catastrophe, a minimum of €150 in the main pool had to be collected total. If catastrophe is not averted, each player's account is depleted by €15. Players got to keep any remaining money in their national treasury. In almost every game, people contributed enough money to avert catastrophe. It was only when the catastrophe was made more unpredictable that the game collapsed. Instead of requiring €150 to completely avert disaster, the catastrophe had a chance of happening based on how much money was allocated. In the second scenario, people promised enough money to minimize the risk, yet they did not allocate it, thinking that the odds would not be significantly increased if they underfunded the mitigation. Because so many people "embezzled", the odds were significantly affected and the catastrophe invariably occurred.

    Basically, the players should have studied their Kant [wikipedia.org].

  • Simpler than that (Score:4, Informative)

    by srussia (884021) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:10AM (#41991011)
    What describes the situation best is the Principal-Agent problem [wikipedia.org]

    Example from the Wiki: "Consider a dental patient (the principal) wondering whether his dentist (the agent) is recommending expensive treatment because it is truly necessary for the patient's dental health, or because it will generate income for the dentist."
  • by Stuarticus (1205322) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:16AM (#41991079)
    China is already playing the game and beating America at it.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackperkowski/2012/07/27/china-leads-the-world-in-renewable-energy-investment/ [forbes.com]
  • Re:Summary: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stuarticus (1205322) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:22AM (#41991109)
    The page you link to is unsourced and doesn't seem to indicate that at all, but don't let that stop your ideology from talking for you.
  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:14AM (#41991593)

    lol, there is no factor of 5 to 10.
    There is a factor of 5, and there is a factor of 10.
    Huge difference between the two, which is it?

    According to this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint [guardian.co.uk]
    Per capita emissions for the EU/China are about the same at just over 7 tons per capita while that for the US is just over 17 tons. That's a factor of c.a. 2,3. I don't know how accurate these figures are but the proportions sound about right (in the sense that they match other reports that I have heard previously).

    Wikipedia has:
    China (ex.Macau, Hong Kong) at 7,031,916 thousand metric tons which is 23.53% of world total
    United States at 5,461,014 thousand metric tons which is 18.27% of world total
    The European Union (all 27 countries) at 4,177,817 thousand metric tons which is 13.98% of world total
    India at 1,742,698 thousand metric tons which is 5.83% of world total

    Keep in mind that China has a population of 1,35 Biliion, India 1,2 Billion, the EU has about 0.503 Billion inhabitants and there are 0.314 Billion of our US American cousins. I know these figures don't quite match the per capita ones I cited from the Guardian article (which are probably newer than the ones on Wikipedia anyway) but it's the proportions that are interesting. Some 300 million US Americans manage to generate the carbon footprint of a Billion Chinese, while 500 million Europeans can hardly hold a candle to the US in terms of carbon emissions.

  • by supadjg (842662) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:40AM (#41991841)
    "Hard to know whom to believe" is a fair comment, but the answer is very rarely "The Daily Mail".

    It is a trashy tabloid that styles pretends it is a serious broadsheet. Pretty much a joke to most people in the UK.

    http://www.mailwatch.co.uk/ [mailwatch.co.uk]

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