Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

prisoners-dilemmaThe Prisoner’s dilemma is a games theory scenario which explores cooperation in difficult circumstances. The classic description, there are two prisoners accused of a crime. Their options are:

  1. They both keep quiet, and when convicted they both receive moderate sentences.
  2. One prisoner rats on the other prisoner. The prisoner who betrays his fellow villain receives a light sentence, the other prisoner receives a heavy sentence.
  3. Both prisoners rat on each other – they both receive heavy sentences.

So how does the Prisoner’s dilemma apply to carbon dioxide mitigation?
The answer of course if that, if CO2 matters, it is a prisoner’s dilemma on a global scale.
Of course, if CO2 has minimal impact on global climate, then it makes no sense to reduce CO2 because it is a waste of resources. But lets consider the interesting scenario – what if CO2 is every bit as…

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