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The solution to all International climate disputes

International climate negotiations have always been a source of frustrations for the delegates at international climate talks. For instance, successive UN climate conferences have been swamped down by arguments about how emission cuts should be shared between the developing and the developed worlds.  However, according to a Northeastern University study, this problem could now be solved using game theory. This article states that a model developed using game theory shows that the deadlocks in these talks can be broken and effective courses to negotiating a treaty can be formed.

This model delineates that there are multiple players all of whom aim to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by their respective target amounts.  Though they want to keep their own reductions as low as possible, they prefer to increase their proposal if the chances of a consensus increase. The game then starts with each player making a proposal to reduce emissions. The players then see what other players propose after which they modify their proposals.  After some repetitions, an agreement would occur which would make all the players happy.

The findings of the model concluded that smaller groups of countries are more likely to come to consensuses as compared to larger groups and once these subgroups reach agreements, they can propose them to larger groups. Thus, more negotiations can be successful which will save time and energy and also make us more effective in saving our planet.

This simple technique of forming sub-team can be paralleled with forming sub games in a game-tree and as we have seen in class, if we use backward induction, where in we solve these sub games first and then move up the tree, we become more effective at solving the whole game. Likewise, if the negotiators are able to reach consensuses in these smaller groups, they can become more efficient at reaching an agreement at the international level.


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September 2014