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

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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  • Enough Gaming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:12AM (#41990589)

    I think there is already quite enough gaming in the Climate Treaty discussion.

  • Summary: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by perrin ( 891 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:22AM (#41990661)

    We're fucked.

  • Re:Summary: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:26AM (#41990683)

    We're fucked.

    Indeed. The ultimate answer to the Fermi Paradox is too obvious to ignore: Greed.

  • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:34AM (#41990737)

    The sooner we impose heavy tariffs on goods from countries that do not meet certain requirements for human rights and environmental policy, the better. We could do it now. It will hurt, but we could manage. If we wait a few decades, it will be too late.

  • by DaemonDan ( 2773445 ) <> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:45AM (#41990807) Homepage
    It was a geography class and we were supposed to be countries working together. If everyone in the group chose A, everyone got 1 point, but if anyone chose B, they got several points while everyone else lost points. If everyone chose B, everyone lost points. In only took a couple of rounds before we lost all trust for each other and always picked B, so at least you only lost the same as everyone else. Kind of sad that international politics is often so similar.
  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:49AM (#41991373) Homepage

    Make it a bit more realistic :P
    A few nations are wealthier than the majority, the people playing those nations get booze and a blowjob every night.
    Those who are poorest have to give the blowjobs to the wealthiest. Now commit the money. You have to convince the wealthiest to give up their margin of comfort and all its rewards so that the poorest nations can get enough wealth to join the wealthy ones. The only way to do this is for everyone to commit to sharing their wealth equally.
    The end result is no one gets booze and blowjobs, but also no one is forced to give head. Good luck convincing the rich to give up their advantage, and good luck convincing the poor that they don't need all the wealth of the richest ones so they can get the same lifestyle.

    Lastly, whether you win or lose, your children and your grandchildren will be playing the same game when they grow up.

    Ok, its very tasteless as an example, but I can't foresee any circumstances in which the rich and powerful will be willing to part with their riches and power (obtained at the expense of the poor people they walked all over to obtain it), or which will convince those who live in poverty that they don't deserve better treatment and a better level of living - which they can't get if they are required to spend too much of their money and effort on being ecologically responsible, particularly if the rich nations are trying to buy their way out of being equally responsible - in proportion to their contribution to the problem.

    Our problem boils down to human selfishness and greed. Those will kill millions in the end if we don't do something. No politician wants to be the one that tells their electorate "Sorry but you have to reduce your quality of life", because they won't be reelected. Few wealthy and powerful people are going to give up what they have for the sake of making others more rich and more in control of their own destinies etc. Some humans are altruistic but not enough of us.

  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:57PM (#41992797)

    Canada will never have a low per capita rate of energy usage. Firstly, it's cold here. Heating energy use is related to population density and average temperature. Canada has a low population density, and with exceptions like Toronto and Vancouver, will likely always have that population distributed over a large area. This means we will always have a high energy use per person, simply because of heat and transportation costs.

    Secondly, Canada has a great deal of economic activity per person (farming, heavy industry, mining.) Europe does not grow enough food to feed itself. Canada one farmer may have several thousand acres of land to farm. It takes a significant amount of energy (fertilizer) and fuel to run a 1000 acre farm. With 2% of Canada's population in farming, Canada will have a rotten per capita energy score. The same logic applies to any kind of heavy industry. Heavy industry is energy intensive. Many industries exist in Canada because we have cheap energy. 30% of Canada's population is tied to manufacturing, and that 30% will use a huge amount of energy per capita.

    Unless the entire population of India moves to Canada, Canada is never going to score well on any per capita energy consumption index. To a lesser extent, the same applies to the US. It's heavy industry and farming sectors are on the same scale as China's, however the US population is a fraction of China's. Even if the US consumer stopped using SUVs, the US would still use a great deal of energy per person. The most popular vehicles in Canada are one full vehicle size smaller than the most popular vehicles in the US, and our gas prices are almost as high as Europes. Canada's per capita energy consumption and CO2 numbers are remain high.

    Per capita metrics only make sense when comparing between countries with similar industrial outputs and economies. Europe will have declining CO2 output levels, because they have light industry and a declining population. China, US, Canada will have huge and increasing energy and CO2 numbers, because we have growing economies and huge heavy industry. Per capita, China will look a lot better than the US and Canada, because of the population difference.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @01:25PM (#41993087) Journal
    If you actually did pay for yours, then no one would complain. The problem is when you dump all of your externalities on everyone else and expect them to pay for yours too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:18PM (#41994515)

    You're missing the point.

    The people telling us that we're heading for disaster are the ones with financial stake in it. The larger their possible financial gain, the louder they make the noise. You've gone on and taken what you've heard for granted without bothering to check the sources, telling yourself "He works in a dentist office and wears a doctor's coat. He must know teeth better than anyone. As long as I pay him enough to avoid dentures in my near future, we all win!"

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:56PM (#41994995)
    They're working towards a different desired outcome. The climate treaty negotiators are politicians, their goal has nothing to do with climate change. It's a combination of ego, kickbacks and self promotion. The sooner they finish arguing and come up with a solution, the sooner they stop getting paid.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva