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Oil . Can we get out of this mess together?. What We KNOW!. The world’s economy is intimately linked with all aspects of petrochemical use Without oil our global society will crumble

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Can we get out of this mess together?

What we know

What We KNOW!

  • The world’s economy is intimately linked with all aspects of petrochemical use

  • Without oil our global society will crumble

  • We have other energy alternatives but none in isolation can provide the massive amount of energy provided by oil

  • Nearly all aspects of manufacturing rely on oil for energy AND raw materials

  • Climate Change is possibly the greatest environmental threat that human society has ever encountered

  • Reducing oil consumption will ensure that we have more time figure out how to live in a world without Oil

  • The UN Climate Change Conference in Denmark (Dec 2009) may be the place where we finally start working together

The problem

The Problem

  • When it comes to resources of any kind human society has failed miserably at sustainably sharing between 2 or more users

  • The “Tragedy of the Commons” a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest will ultimately destroy a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long term interest for this to happen

  • Are we not above this as a modern society?

Kyoto to copenhagen

Kyoto to Copenhagen

  • Our Current international agreement with respect to Climate Change is the Kyoto Protocol

  • At its core the Kyoto Protocol had great intentions:

    Reduce Our Global Emissions of CO2

  • In practice the agreement had little clout to penalize countries who did not or could not fulfill their obligations

  • Kyoto expires in 2012

  • COP 15 in Copenhagen Denmark is our next chance to get this right


  • Sound easy? Now its time for you to give it a try……

Collective action

Collective Action

  • Great things are possible when groups of people work together to achieve a common goal

  • WE DO have the technology and capacity to begin fighting climate change NOW

  • However for any action to work it must have the support and commitment of our entire world’s population.

  • Key Questions:

    • What needs to be in place to ensure cooperation?

    • What might lead to sustained cooperation?

    • What might lead to one or more Nations declining to participate in a new agreement on Climate Change?

Bunny and the snake

Bunny and the Snake

Time to play a game:

  • Find a Partner

  • Two symbols:

    • Bunny (peace sign)

    • Snake (two finger claw)

      Point Allocations:

      Snake to Bunny = 3 points to snake

      Bunny to Snake = 0 points to bunny

      Snake to Snake = o points to snake

      Bunny to Bunny = 2 points each bunny

The prisoner s dilemma

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

  • Game Theory

  • Two prisoners arrested and taken in for questioning

  • Each prisoner told that if they rat out their friend they will be set free

  • If one prisoner rats out their friend, he (the friend) will be sent to prison for 10 years

  • If neither player talks each will only receive a short 6 month sentence

  • If both talk each will receive a 5 year sentence

  • There is ALWAYS a choice to make……….

Real world negative collective action

Real World Negative Collective Action

  • The hoarding of consumer goods

    • The news of a shortage promotes people stockpiling the item and creates a shortage…

  • The deterioration of public hallways

    • Everyone prefers that someone else cleans up a public area

    • However each neighbor's free-riding discourages others from cleaning

    • In the end no one wants to clean up and the situation gets worse and worse

  • Aggressive Driving

    • As more people speed it becomes harder and harder for others to drive safely at the speed limit

Our game

Our Game

  • New regulations outlining CO2 emission reduction has just been established at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

  • As a representative of your country you have been asked to participate in a CO2 reduction panel on a yearly basis.

  • Each year your country and 23 others will sit down to see how your individual reductions in CO2 has either met or not met your obligation as agreed in Copenhagen



  • You get the most benefit from being the only country not to cooperate

  • You get the least benefit from being the only cooperator

  • The more countries that cooperate the greater the collective benefit

  • If no countries cooperate their will be great but random consequences to various countries. Climate Change does not discriminate……

The copenhage commitment

The Copenhage Commitment

  • 24 nations pledged 38 units of emission reductions per year

  • United States = 8 units

  • Japan = 5 Units

  • Germany = 3 Units

  • Russia = 2 Units

  • 20 other Countries = 1 Unit each

Your package

Your Package

  • Contains confidential instructions on how you the ambassador are to represent the interest of your Nation

  • Contains “table A” a table of costs associated with different outcomes.

  • Your goal is to minimize your countries losses and maximize their gains

  • There WILL be a winner at the end of 10-12 rounds

How to play

How to play

  • In each round you choose to either fulfill your commitment.

    • Smaller countries can pledge 0 or 1 unit of reduction

    • Larger countries can pledge to reduce all of their commitment or a fraction of their total commitment

  • The format in between rounds is completely decentralized. You may meet with other individual countries, form small or large Coalitions, you may make speeches…. But no one has to listen!

  • Before the first round their will be 10 minutes of discussion. There will be 5 minutes between each additional round while scores are recorded/calculated

For the rest of class

For the rest of class

  • Review your confidential package carefully

  • Develop an initial strategy with which you want to approach this simulation (make sure to follow any roles outlined in your confidential package)

  • You may approach other countries and try to make coalitions and agreements before we start

  • Remember their WILL be a winner to this simulation who will receive a special PRIZE.

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