A game that tackles sustainability and climate change. Will you play it?
Team sports are a fantastic way to teach. Anyone who has ever participated in team sports is aware that the rules are straightforward and that the results for any one player depend on the actions of others. The rule is very much applicable to online gaming as well. It holds true for almost all spheres of human endeavour, including law, business, economics, and politics. The good aspects of gaming—reward, accomplishment, fun, and freedom—have not changed across platforms, including arcades, computers, mobile devices, Play Station, and Xbox. If you participate in such a game, you must consider the decisions made by other players when deciding on your plan of action or "strategy." This approach is what we know as "Game Theory".
Can game theory be used to address climate-related problems and focus efforts on achieving sustainable development goals? The answer is "yes."
It is advisable to comprehend the "Nash Equilibrium" and the "Prisoner's Dilemma" if you are unfamiliar with game theory. Read more about them here.
You will notice that these problems are present everywhere if you have a firm grasp of these fundamental concepts. Let’s take an example here.
Imagine that a group of punters come up with the concept of "FloCard"—a truly unique, creative digital tool that not only streamlines various business activities but also instantly aligns organisations or individuals with all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, climate action, and carbon neutrality. The potential for profit is enormous. Punters turn to venture capitalists for funding to develop and promote their idea. How can VCs know that there is as much potential as what the gamblers believe there is? Investors can't evaluate the concept objectively because it's too new. Team has no prior experience of this kind and may be total mountebank who will spend the funds to live a decadent lifestyle before going missing. How much of their own money punters are willing to risk or have already risked on FloCard is one method for investors to gauge how strongly punters believe in their concept. Anyone may talk a good game, but if punters are prepared to back up their claims with deeds, it is a reliable measure of how much they truly value their notion.
Players in this game have varying levels of knowledge; you are much more aware of the full potential of your invention than is your potential investor. In these games, information-related behaviours are quite important. Information-economics operates in this manner. Similar examples may be seen all around us in daily life, such as incentive programmes, reward point systems, price competition, and cross-border trade, to mention a few, where game theory is vital to achieving particular objectives in a win-win way.
Now that you are aware of how game theory is used in daily life, let's make a U-turn and return to the main topic of the blog, which is using game theory to fight climate change.
We have had some relative and patchy success in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) output from COP 21 to COP 26 , and COP 27 is now within sight. The primary factor contributing to climate change is GHG emissions. Prevalent conflicts and cooperation between nations are the main causes of splintered success (Isn't this conflict and cooperation what game theory deals with?)
You probably already know the basics of climate change, but let's go over them again before applying game theory to the same.
The capacity of Earth to absorb carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and human, commercial, and governmental activity is finite. The harm from the profit-driven mentality has reached a stage where Earth can no longer absorb any more CO2 because of it. It denotes a rise in temperature, irregular weather patterns, and a change in the climate. The issue stems from our desire to acquire wealth at whatever cost and the conflicting expectations of each actor, including people, businesses, and the government. The finest approach for one kind of actor may not be the best for another. Similar to that, the chain keeps on, resulting in conflict and improper cooperation. Does that imply that all parties involved should work together to determine carbon emission allocation? You discover the solution.
Compared to the temptation to clean up your own mess, the temptation to pollute is frequently stronger because cleaning involves resources and money whereas polluting does not. This theory is known as "tragedy of the commons." Using game theory, environmental damage caused by businesses or individuals can be viewed as an iterative game over a shared resource such as biodiversity, an agricultural farm, plantation drives, etc. that anyone can access. This allows for sustainable management for regular ecosystem regeneration and the creation of valuable resources and opportunities. The pooling of resources, bringing everyone under one roof, and amplifying the mobility of Global, Local, and People actions to help achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals is what FloCard does.
By creating the appropriate incentives, rewarding collaboration among ecosystem participants, thwarting the interests of the actual contributors, and protecting fictitious claims on other people's efforts, the goal is to prevent the development of the "tragedy of the commons." It appears that combating climate change calls for a game that promotes collaboration across diverse groups of actors and across national boundaries.
The game must be global in nature since climate change is a global issue. Making a Glocal (Globally local) game is one way to achieve this, as also claimed by the punters. With someone who is nearby as opposed to someone who is thousands of miles away, it is simpler to build trust and reciprocity. To scale up the game from a local to a global level, all that is required is a trustworthy and open method to unite like-minded individuals at the local levels and then expand collaboration with groups from local to global level. This method of fostering collaboration is also based on the "Jiyo aur Jeene Do" (Live and Let Live) philosophy that Lord Mahavira popularised in the sixth century. Add to it the universal human propensity to compliment those who compliment you. It entails everyone in a group working together to create a Nash equilibrium rather than a win-lose situation.
Is that all the game theory has to say about climate change? How will the game handle the sobering fact that those most affected by climate change will be some of the poorest people living in some of the least developed countries, not the industrialised ones that caused it? Can game theory establish universal agreement among all parties with the proper reward-punishment system from COP 21 through COP 26? Can the prisoner's dilemma be changed to address climate change or is a stag hunt more appropriate at this time? In our upcoming post, we'll go over all of these topics and many more.
Until then, if you haven't already, create your FloCard to join the #BetterPlanetTogether campaign, onboard your company to the FloCard platform, and follow us on social media. This is a request by the punters as they are heading to investors.