Dresden 2017 – scientific program
SOE 5.2: Prize Talk
Monday, March 20, 2017, 16:00–16:45, HSZ 01
Climate Change and Global Governance in an Uncertain World — •Francisco C. Santos1,2, Vítor V. Vasconcelos1,2, Simon A. Levin3, and Jorge M. Pacheco4,2 — 1INESC-ID & Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal — 2Applications of Theoretical Physics Group, Portugal — 3Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, USA — 4CBMA & DMA, Universidade do Minho, Portugal
When attempting to avoid global warming, individuals often face a social dilemma in which, besides securing future benefits, it is also necessary to reduce the chances of future losses. We propose a simple population dynamics approach to this type of dilemmas, in which the risk of failure plays a central role in individual decisions. This model can be shown to capture some of the essential features discovered in recent key experiments, while allowing one to extend the experimental conditions to regions also of practical interest. Our results suggest that global coordination for a common good should be attempted through a polycentric structure of multiple small-scale agreements, in which perception of risk is high and uncertainty in collective goals is minimized. Whenever the perception of risk is low, our results indicate that sanctioning institutions may significantly enhance the chances of coordinating to tame the planet's climate, as long as they are implemented in a decentralized manner. Finally, we also discuss the impact on public goods dilemmas of heterogeneous political networks, growing agreements, and wealth inequality, including a distribution of wealth representative of existing inequalities among nations.