Cooperative interaction of rich and poor can be catalyzed by intermediate climate targetsReport as inadecuate

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Climatic Change

, Volume 109, Issue 3–4, pp 807–814

A letterFirst Online: 15 October 2011Received: 09 August 2011Accepted: 01 October 2011


International climate negotiations that aim at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions are strongly influenced by a conflict between rich and poor countries and by a lack of consensus about the urgency of emission reduction measures. We have previously in an experimental game characterised the implied challenge of avoiding dangerous climate change as the -collective-risk social dilemma-. Here we introduce heterogeneous wealth and two time horizons into the collective-risk social dilemma game. We show that rich players are willing to substitute for missing contributions by the poor, provided the players collectively face intermediate climate targets that, if not reached, are potentially followed by simulated intermediate costly climate risks. However, despite some increase in the contributions of the rich against the final collective target, the final target is reached less often than the intermediate target. Our results provide experimental evidence that similar, intermediate time horizons between climate risks and climate change mitigation planning are a necessary, though not sufficient, component of successful climate negotiations.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s10584-011-0319-y contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Manfred Milinski - Torsten Röhl - Jochem Marotzke


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