The upcoming Paris climate talks would be much more successful if the rules of the game weren’t so faulty, a number of scientists believe. All that it would take is for the UN to observe one simple concept: reciprocity.
This article on COP21 is based on an interview with David MacKay, of the University of Cambridge, an acclaimed researcher of sustainable energy, and the former Chief Scientist for the UK’s Dept. of Climate Change. It also relies on this article in Nature.
According to MacKay, this approach ignores 40 years of research in the science of cooperation and game theory. In climate negotiations, countries have strong incentives to go for a free ride, waiting for others to act while not reducing their own emissions.
That is what scientists call “the tragedy of the commons.”