Playing games with the climate

May 31, 2013

Gábor Kutasi of the Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, has applied game theory to the problem of climate change to help him analyse the relationships between international players on the world stage, occurrence and effects, attitude towards carbon emissions, the power struggles taking place and the negotiations that are under way between nations, energy companies and the public.

As levels rise, it is likely too that the average temperature of the planet's surface through the . There may be localised effects that mitigate against this , but these small-scale effects do not detract from the problems we face as environments at the extremes, the Poles and sub-tropical zones feel the effects and climate change becomes a fact of life in even the temperate parts of the globe.

There are uncertainties in the precise impact on specific regions, ecosystems and human health and lifestyles. However, Kutasi asserts that climate change will be a long-term challenge for humanity and the world around us and that preventive action must be taken soon before its effects become irreversible. He points out that worst-case scenarios have been plotted and action plans to ameliorate or halt their effects have even been developed. Unfortunately, such positive actions are often stymied by political reluctance, socioeconomic inactivity and the inhibitory propaganda of the multinational industrial complex. It is almost a given that we can somehow ignore the long term for the sake of avoiding a short-term detrimental impact on our lifestyles, election results and the bottom line on company profits.

The inherent uncertainties of timescale and net impact have led many so-called stakeholders to hold back their planned actions and for others to see such hesitancy as a reason to put their own plans on hold too. Thus the concept of strongly underpins the interactions, responses and parrying of many parties with a role to play in what should be a concerted, worldwide effort to address the problems of and climate change.

Kutasi's review of the state-of-the-art in game theory in the context of climate change, suggests that, despite the limitations and complexities of applying it to such a complex issue, there are benefits to that can be derived. "Through game theory, it is possible to illustrate the dilemmas and strategic options of a group of actors, thus making the very complex relationship of industrial activity, carbon emission, climate change, ecological and economic damages transparent for decision-makers at the levels of economic diplomacy, public policy, or private business," he suggests. By changing the rules of the game and playing more openly and more fairly it might even be possible that we can devise workable strategies and recommendations for mitigating and adapting to , he concludes.

Explore further: Researchers provide guide to household water conservation

More information: "Climate change in game theory context" in Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2013, 13, 42-63

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate negotiation as a bargaining game

May 12, 2014

For more than two decades, members of the United Nations have sought to forge an agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But so far, these international climate negotiations have had limited ...

Shame and honor increase cooperation

Jun 01, 2011

Honour and shame work equally well in encouraging social cooperation, according to a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by use of game theory

Jan 31, 2011

Economist Scott Barrett is no fan of the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and get climate change under control. Barrett proposes a different approach: tackle the gigantic problem, ...

Cool model for a hot planet

Mar 08, 2010

In his recent book, "Strategic Bargaining and Cooperation in Greenhouse Gas Mitigations," Binghamton University's Zili Yang suggests ways governments might realistically work together to reduce carbon dioxide ...

People don't put a high value on climate protection

Oct 23, 2013

(Phys.org) —People are bad at getting a grip on collective risks. Climate change is a good example of this: the annual climate summits have so far not led to specific measures. The reason for this is that people attach ...

Recommended for you

Studying wetlands as a producer of greenhouse gases

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Wetlands are well known for their beneficial role in the environment. But UConn Honors student Emily McInerney '15 (CAHNR) is studying a less widely known role of wetlands – as a major producer ...

User comments : 0