Prisoner’s Dilemma And The Fight Against Global Warming
Global warming reached alarming levels and governments from all over the world need to gather in a united front to fight the process. Sooner or later, all countries will be obliged to enter this fight, leaving all divergences and interests aside, as global warming affects everyone more or less. While some might expect that the largest difficulties in fighting global warming involve financial and technical factors, the problem actually depends more on political and social factors.
All domains are known to be affected by global warming, with economic and social success being destabilized by the fact that Earth’s temperature is constantly rising. Even though the global warming process has been hurried in the second half of the twentieth century by the advance in technology and industry, people have raised questions relating to the earth going through a warming process ever since the end of the nineteenth century
The solution to the problem of global warming is somewhat clear, major international players have to voluntarily let go of their present concerns in favor of cooperating with each-other in order to ameliorate and eventually stop global warming.
The process of global warming is slowly but surely advancing and there is no other solution to it but for countries all over the globe to get actively involved in the fight against it. It is obvious that climate change will occur in the long-term, as the process of global warming cannot be stopped immediately, even if all countries were to decide to take part in fighting it. However, most are reluctant to do so, especially after observing that others are not expressing their interest in solving the problem.
Apparently, there is no use in attempting to punish a certain country because it is unwilling to join the fight against global warming. Instead, in order to get other countries to cooperate in the performance, some need to discover what is the best behavior that they can display so as to convince the others into changing their view on the subject.
Two individuals are most likely to refuse to cooperate in a situation which implies them leaving their interests aside. What is more disturbing is the fact that these two individuals would probably continue to do the same when they learn that their cooperation would prove to be beneficial for both of them.
The game theory has a basic problem in it, called the Prisoner’s Dilemma, which includes several players that are given the chance to cooperate in order for all of them to gain profits from the act. Nevertheless, this also makes it possible for a certain player to take advantage of the others, or for none of the players to take action (Axelrod, 1984, p. viii).
The Prisoner’s Dilemma is best explained through the example involving two persons that are arrested by the police. The Police do not have enough evidence to arrest the two, and, thus, they resort to offering the same deal to both of them. The prisoners are presented with the chances of either turning their accomplice in, or of remaining silent. If both remain silent, they get off with a minor sentence, but if they both testify, they are both convicted. If one chooses to testify while the other remains silent, the first is set free while the other is left serving the full sentence. The prisoners are tempted to choose to turn each-other in, as the police assure them that their testimonies would remain secret until the investigation will be over (Cline, 1992, p. 325).
One of the key elements in the Prisoner’s Dilemma condition is the fact that, until the round finishes, none of the players knows what the others have done. Even with that, each of the prisoners is aware that if he of she defects the other, they would be presented with the highest benefits. The problem is that if they both choose to turn the other in, they would both end up much worse than if they would have cooperated.
If all the players in a game choose to cooperate, they will all be rewarded with great benefits. However, even though cooperation brings in the highest benefits, it also brings in the highest risk, as one might find themselves getting the lowest score if they are the only one that wants to cooperate. In reality, it is actually difficult to determine when it is a good time to cooperate and when it is not. Selfishness always seems to be the best way out of any situation
As in any game, most players are able to see the actions performed by their opponents in the previous rounds. Thus, these actions can influence one’s moves in the next round of the game. It is perfectly normal for players to be less inclined to cooperate, as they are mainly interested in themselves, rather than being interested in their enemies. Of course, it would probably be tempting to cooperate if players knew that this collaboration would bring benefits.
Since the beginning of time, people have been convinced that cooperation is not likely to occur in a world dominated by self-interested individuals. The fact that there is not any central authority to control the general public only adds to this conviction.
People are firstly interested in their own concerns, and, only consequent to that do they pay attention to other people’s interests. Even though the concept of cooperation is partially eliminated by knowing what people mainly want, it is also known that cooperation occurred in several instances, and, that civilization is largely owed to cooperation.
In Axelrod’s opinion, one of the best (and rather subjective) explanations to cooperation is given by Thomas Hobbes. The English philosopher considered that selfishness is a key feature of humanity and that it held back ever since the appearance of governments. In his view, cooperation cannot be possible without the existence of a central authority to control the population (Axelrod, p. 4).
Across time, nations have interacted without being controlled by a certain authority, thus the resulting conflicts which emerged. Battles mainly occurred due to the need for security, expressed by nations in general. Some nations, in particular, considered that it would be better for their people to be secure, even if this meant that other nations would become underprivileged as a result.
Most individuals choose to cooperate in hope that this would bring benefits in the near future. When taking in consideration two companies doing business, a certain company is likely to favor the other, hoping that they too will be favored by the other when the next business opportunity arises.
In its basic form, the Prisoner’s Dilemma only involves two individuals and one round. In this form each individual only has one shot at choosing whether he wants to cooperate with his accomplice and remain silent or whether he wants to defect and turn his partner in.
In a multiple-round game matters would most certainly be different. The Prisoner’s Dilemma is modified when several rounds are involved. Individuals are able to influence their partner’s next move through diverse methods. They can place threats, promises, and they can even build up a reputation which would increase their chances of appearing to be cooperative.
Similar to how they would benefit the most if they cooperated in a single-round game, players would benefit from cooperating during a game with multiple rounds. Robert Axelrod attempted to find the best game strategy that would influence players in cooperating with each-other. In order to do this, he gathered a number of game theorists from around the world. These people had to come up with programs which contained the best strategy tor assist one in a situation similar to the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Programs needed to provide a history of the interactions having taken place until a certain moment and influence the player in making a decision concerning their next move.
The best strategy to assist a Prisoner’s Dilemma situation proved to be that of the Tit for Tat game. The game involves several players who begin by cooperating, and are later influenced by the moves that they see at their adversaries. Amazed by the game’s simplicity, Axelrod organized another tournament, which, unsurprisingly, ended in the same manner, with Tit for Tat offering the best strategy. From the two hundred games presented at the tournament, Anatol Rapoport’s strategy related to Tit for Tat had been the best that one could use in a Prisoner’s Dilemma situation (Kubilay Geckil; Anderson, 2009, p. 40). Obviously, the Tit for Tat strategy would only be effective in the multiple-round Prisoner’s Dilemma games, as it would be useless in a single-shot game.
In a Tit for Tat game, the first player begins the session by cooperating, a move which should trigger the same movement in his opponents. All the players in the game continue to cooperate, until someone defects, a move which, in turn, influences the other players in defecting. Communication is very important in a Tit for Tat game, as a certain player might misunderstand the move performed by another player and ruin the whole round by influencing the other to defect.
Prisoner’s Dilemma situations are more common than some might actually think they are, as most people often come across them in their daily lives. Given the fact that Axelrod has a background in political science, he observed that PD is frequently encountered in the U.S. Senate. Senators are accustomed to helping out their colleagues, as they are perfectly aware that their assistance will materialize in their colleagues repaying them. The help that U.S. senators provide to their colleagues ranges from trading votes to attracting voters for them. One can actually claim that reciprocity is one of the most important factors in the U.S. Senate (Axelrod, p. 5).
However, it appears that matters in the senate were not always like this, and, that just a few decades ago senators seemed more willing to support concepts like deceitfulness and falseness instead of assisting each-other. Surprisingly, people in the U.S. Senate have become willing to cooperate as a result of them wanting to follow their own interests and realizing that the best method of doing so is by collaborating (Axelrod, p. 5).
By understanding what influences individuals to cooperate in spite of the fact that they mainly want to follow their own interests, one can apply these settings in another situation, making others interested in cooperating for their own well-being.
Cooperation between several individuals without the assistance of a central authority was proved to be possible, even though it did not seem like an achievable performance. Individuals appear to be forced to cooperate by their own interests, as they are perfectly aware that they would end up with nothing in the long-term if they do not cooperate.
Cooperation can be done for a series of reasons, and, while it might seem that particular people are willing to cooperate because of the concern that they have for others, it is possible that they also do so in order to satisfy their own interests. “If a sister is concerned for the welfare of her brother, the sister’s self-interest can be thought of as including (among many other things) this concern for the welfare of her brother” (Axelrod, p. 7) in the bigger picture, a country can assist another because of the apparent concern that it has for this country, but, in reality, this help can be a result of the benefits that the first country could come across as a result of helping the latter. Cooperation cannot merely resume to the concerns that one has for another, as it is mainly controlled by the interests that each player has.
If all individuals in a football team were to follow their own interests (related to becoming famous), chances are that the team will have lesser chances of qualifying for the final. However, if they were to consider that their team’s reputation would automatically benefit them, they would probably be more interested in helping their teammates, so that the team scores as many points as possible.
When a good player finds himself playing in an amateur team, it would be better for them to attempt to become renowned by struggling to achieve as many points as they can, regardless if their teammates succeed in scoring any points. Thus, such a player would be aware that the best solution for him to satisfy his needs is to follow his own interests, instead of following the team’s interests. In contrast, if another player in the football team (who is equally as good as the first) cooperates instead of wanting to get all the glory, it is most likely that he will end up with little to no points, while the first player would become famous.
Prisoner’s Dilemma situations are not supposed to involve a winner and a loser eventually, but a person that has more points than the other. Moreover, one’s success does not depend on their partner’s failure and the best method of scoring as many points as one can possibly score would be for them to adapt to their partner’s behavior.
When two players engage in a Prisoner’s Dilemma game which they know has a limited number of rounds, they will both be inclined to defect at the last move because it is the safest and best solution to score points, with no other moves left to influence each other’s behavior.
During any prisoner’s dilemma game, players rapidly see the opportunity of taking advantage of their opponents. This is partially beneficial for them, as they would be assisted by their partners in scoring points. However, they are not likely to attain a great result, as ‘the reward for mutual cooperation is greater than the average of the temptation and the sucker’s payoff” (Axelrod, p. 10). Cooperation is almost certainly to emerge if the game has an imprecise number of interactions. Before making a move, every player has to study the history of interaction with the other players, so as to have more chances of predicting their moves.
Certainty is never present in a Prisoner’s Dilemma game, as no one can ever be sure that a particular player will make a particular move at a particular time. Also, a player cannot determine another player’s move by studying his or her interactions with the other players. A trustworthy reputation can only be valued through one’s interaction with another player, not through the other player’s interaction with the rest of the players.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma is also related to the free-rider problem, and, apparently, “many economists have emphasized the difficulty of international negotiations on global warming caused by the “free-rider problem,” in which the individual country has an incentive to take advantage of the benefits of carbon abatement by other nations without bearing the cost of restricting its own emissions” (Cline, p. 325). If a country chooses to get actively involved in reducing the emission of greenhouse gases while other countries do nothing about it, its efforts would end up having little or no success. On the other hand, if other countries join the first in its struggle, there will most positively be a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases.
For most countries, the best solution to fighting global warming would be not to take action at all. The costs needed to undergo such a process would be much greater than the benefits that one would have to expect from it. If all of the other countries engage in fighting global warming, an individual country can also benefit from the process. Fighting global warming would mean that a country would have to deprive its people of several benefits, and, concomitantly, share the benefits of its struggle with the whole world.
Being the three largest fossil fuel burners, the United States, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China would have to join forces in beginning a program destined to limit the greenhouse gases emitted by themselves. Concomitantly, the three world powers should negotiate with all the other countries with the intention of reducing worldwide emissions of toxic gases.
A large number of countries have taken various actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for a somewhat significant decrease in the greenhouse gas release. It is curious that despite the fact that the whole globe benefits from ameliorating the process of global warming, most countries do not hesitate when it comes to their taking part in the course of action. These countries do so even when they observe that other large industrial countries are reluctant to join the fight.
The fight against global warming can be understood through the fact that each country undergoing it is mainly interested in its own problems and knows that it can benefit from part taking in the process. The benefits of fighting against global warming are equal for all countries around the world and some might consider that it is pointless for them to join, as they can simply exploit others. However, cooperating in reducing greenhouse emissions also involves other factors, such as the ones related to international cooperation in several occasions, not just the one concerning global warming.
If one country chooses to stand and do nothing while the others participate in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it faces the risk of influencing other countries to do the same. Eventually, global warming will continue to threaten the planet’s well-being, since there would be no one to stop it.
Reciprocity is a key element in greenhouse gas reductions, with countries being influenced by the actions taken by others at the time when they have to decide their position on the overall effort. There are also other factors which can influence a country’s desire to participate in the fight against global warming, such as local pollution and environmental problems.
Choosing to take action against global warming is seen as a great risk for the countries which decide to do so. However, these countries are most likely willing to be the first to cooperate with the others because they expect that a large number of countries will eventually join them in the endeavor. Countries which get involved in fighting global warming despite they receive little support for their act can be considered optimistic, as they look forward to seeing reciprocity from others.
Cooperation in the fight against global warming is possible as international players are aware that the effects of the decisions that they make in the present will also be felt in the future, and not just now. Thus, countries are also be interested in the aftermath that their present actions will produce. Even with that, as almost anyone, countries are inclined to concentrate on the present and on the benefits provided now rather than focusing on the future.
Taking the Prisoner’s Dilemma into consideration, one can assume that the best strategy for a certain country when faced with the decision of addressing global warming would be to cooperate initially. The respective country is expecting little to no cooperation from other countries and is aware of the risk that it took on. In the first round, it is most likely that other countries will not express any interest in joining the first in its endeavor, as they are not willing to risk.
At the time when it chose to fight global warming, in spite of the fact that it had largely been on its own, the European Union had been aware that several other world powers would not behave similarly (Cline, p. 332). However, its choice was mainly based on the fact that others would follow its example sooner or later. In a Prisoner’s Dilemma game, cooperation is more likely to occur when the game has multiple rounds.
Apparently, the European Union had chosen a tit for tat strategy when it started to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the move that it made can be considered to be one of the best, at it went directly for the high score by cooperating. Another factor which seems to contribute to this concept is the fact that the fight against global warming does not have a predetermined number of rounds.
If one wants cooperation to be possible, they first have to accept the fact that they are most likely to lose in the first round, with the other player defecting. One of the reasons for which the European Union has partially lost several rounds against other world powers is that they failed to issue a severe reprisal, so as to oblige other players to join the fight against global warming. Some saw this as a chance to exploit the Union and thus maintained their position regarding global warming. The European Union might have foreseen this, but it is possible that it chose not to retaliate because of its determination to achieve cooperation. International players are most likely to join the fight against global warming sooner or later, realizing the benefits which can be drawn out of cooperating.
Because of its devotion to fighting global warming, the European Union is determined to use the tit for tat strategy in such a way that it refrains from defecting, even when other superpowers express their desire to do so. The fight against global warming proves to be stable one, and this can be observed through the fact that other international players have defected in the first round. In the long-term, all countries discover that it is worthless for them to attempt to exploit those fighting against global warming.
The problem with the fight against global warming is that numerous international players are expected to join in at some point. This makes it difficult for strategies such as tit for tat to be effective. It is harder to cooperate because of the emerging complexity. Those that get involved in combating global warming can threaten those that don’t through various means. However, putting these means into practice can harm third parties which have nothing to do with the guilty states.
Governments from around the world are presently faced with the dilemma of deciding whether it is best for them to fight global warming, or whether it is best to gain limited profits from the business by doing nothing. Apparently, for some, the best way to address the situation is to support the concept of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but, to do nothing significant about it.
Governments are aware that they can collect the benefits of fighting global warming in spite of the fact that they take no action. In the present, everyone seems to be determined to stop global warming. However, most limit their actions to simply talking about the issue, while doing nothing notable to deal with the problem.
It is only natural for all countries to initially express little interest to fighting global warming. As matters advance, players will gradually get involved in the problem, whether because they are influenced by others to do so, or because they fear retaliation from the others for not cooperating.
The repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma that countries have to deal with in the present is much more complex than the basic Prisoner’s Dilemma. It is also more beneficial for the players involved, however. Unlike the two suspects being questioned by the police, countries have the opportunity of negotiating, which can assist them in having efficiency through their efforts. Also, countries are aware that cooperating is the best solution in the long-term.
Most international players are presently inclined to join the fight against global warming not necessarily because they feel constrained by those that are already engaged in the campaign, but because they are aware that they too will suffer as a result of global warming. The bottom line is that all countries will suffer because of global warming, regardless of their position on the process. The question is: How much are certain countries willing to suffer before they too get involved in getting actively involved?
The tit for tat strategy applied to the fight against global warming would involve a series of factors which can affect the campaign. For some countries, it is better to defect rather than to cooperate in certain situations. For example, if a country is likely to become unable to fight global warming in the near future, another country can be influenced to refrain from cooperating with the first. This is largely owed to the fact that countries are also interested in the relationships coming along with their cooperation and with the benefits that these relationships would bring in the future.
Other international players initially expressed reluctance in cooperating with the European Union to fight global warming most probably because they thought that such a campaign would be costly and useless. This is yet another reason for which players can abstain from being influenced by other players in making a move. Factors such as trust and good credit are of no value when a player seems to be uninspired in making decisions.
It is very difficult to obtain reciprocity in cooperation in a society where all people are constantly preoccupied in satisfying their interests. Also, these individuals are aware that defection always pay off, one way or the other. Matters are different, however, when it comes to global warming. If only a limited number of states get involved in fighting the process, chances are that they would only succeed in slowing down the process instead of ending it. In the future, absolutely everyone will suffer because they did not get engage in fighting global warming.
The best that the non-cooperative countries will get out of their exploit will be that they did not spend their money. Conversely, the money that they saved would most definitely be rapidly spent consequent to them attempting to repair the damage provoked by global warming. In order for the tit for tat strategy to be effective, other countries need to be fond of the approach, and to realize its value.
If several players in a game use the tit for tat strategy, they are predisposed to scoring the highest points. Similarly, if some countries fight global warming using the tit for tat line of attack, they have a large number of chances to profit from the act.
Apparently, the best method of having success through using the tit for tat strategy would be to use it when interacting with players who also favor the plan. Cooperation guarantees success in the long run and one would satisfy their interests in any case including other individuals fond of cooperating.
Politicians constantly raise the world’s attention concerning how it is very important to stop the process causing the planet to overheat. However, most of them are among the least that have actually done something to better the condition. Clearly, everyone believes that it is better to take advantage of others instead of getting involved in the campaign themselves.
Considering the confusion triggered by global change, the general public is unsure of what to think, as it’s been accustomed to influential figures using every means possible in order to exploit the masses. It is certain that global warming is taking place, but it is uncertain whether people can do something to push it back or not.
The planet has experienced phases of warming and cooling down for millions of years, in times when it had been impossible for man to have any influence on the environment. In spite of the fact that this does not mean that the use of fossil fuel does not have an effect on the environment, it raises questions to the intensity of this supposed effect.
Surprisingly, some of the countries that refuse to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions are also among the richest. The U.S. And Australia prefer to be free-riders instead of doing something against global warming. Of course, there are also a large number of poor countries which have done nothing to stop global warming, but their position is to some extent justified by their condition.
Both the U.S. And Australia have expressed their interest in stopping global warming, but, in spite of their influence, have done little to address the state of affairs. It appears that global changing is not going to be stopped, in spite of the fact that it would be rather easy for it to be ended if world superpowers were to cooperate. The iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, as described by Axelrod, is optimistic, expecting for everyone to improve their behavior and eventually cooperate with the other players. (the Economist)
It is controversial whether or nor rich countries should be punished for the position that they display, and, also, it is not certain that their punishing would bring any benefits. If a particular country in the European Union wants to punish the U.S. For not cooperating in fighting global warming, it would have to consider all the factors involved and proceed only when it is certain that no consequences can come to someone else as a result of its action. The tit for tat strategy has a number of deficiencies when it has to be applied in the real world. If one were to punish someone who didn’t cooperate, they would have to come up with a harsh method, but, at the same time, they would have to focus on sending the right message.
China and the U.S. are presently some of the world’s greatest contributors when concerning greenhouse gas emissions. (Clemons; Chimmelbusch, 2007) Countries such as these are unwilling to charge a tax for carbon dioxide because they fear that the costs implied in such a project would be much greater than the benefits. if, for example, one of these countries were to tax carbon dioxide emissions, industries concentrated on carbon dioxide would simply choose to leave the country in favor of other countries, where they are not required to pay taxes for their emissions.
It would only be natural for the U.S. To be against a carbon tax, because “addressing global warming will curtail and limit the profits of some of the largest and most powerful industries in the United States” (Gibbs Pleune, 2008). The economies in these countries would thus be severely affected. In order for society to avoid such events, all countries should impose a carbon tax, so that economies would not be affected and industries would continue to survive by paying for the gases that they emit.
It is not certain whether it is or it is not easy for people to contribute in lowering the global emissions. Whereas most claim to be in favor of stopping global warming, individuals are reluctant to abandon cars in favor of bicycles, or, generally, to use technology that consumes less than the one they presently use. Of course, it is not easy for one to simply throw away all their old devices and buy new ones, as this requires spending money for something that you think you already have. Again, this involves an ethical dilemma concerning finances, making it complicated for people to voluntarily spend their money because of a theory that they believe is unsubstantiated.
Most countries are reluctant to be among the first to act against global warming, motivating their way of thinking by claiming that the first countries who act are going to experience economic hardship. It is generally easier for people to cooperate when everyone else is doing so. If they discover that cooperation is, in fact, performed by just a few, they might consider that their movement is a waste of time. It is almost as if some believe that they will be better off in the upcoming future if they stick to not getting involved.
When it comes to investing large funds into programs that are likely to bring them benefits, people want to be certain that they will profit from the deal, and, that the profits will be significant. Individuals automatically believe that they at an advantage if they did not spend any money, even if they feel the effects of global warming. Emissions cannot be cut if a country acts alone, and, furthermore, the respective country would encounter a series of disadvantages because of the choice that it makes.
Apparently, some countries will not do a thing about global warming until they see everyone getting involved. This is not necessarily proof that they are ignorant, but that they will first want proof that the effects of global warming will be more costly (and some even irreparable) in comparison to the costs required for a fight against the process in the present. If it expresses its interest in fighting global warming without actually taking action so as to stop the process, a government would benefit both from the fact that other governments act with or without its help, and from the fact that it has been part of convincing others of the terrors related to global warming. This is, to a large degree, an example of hypocrisy, but, as long as it profits from the exploit, one does not care whether or not they deserve their condition.
World superpowers agree that cooperation is always more effective than non-cooperation. Nonetheless they are unenthusiastic about cooperating, given the fact that they are primarily interested in the economic drawback presented by such a group effort. Rationality is therefore less important than money, to the point where people seem more concerned about the present than they are about the future.
The countries which are unwilling to develop serious programs meant to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases should not be considered irresponsible. These players are conscious that the costs required to get actively engaged in fighting global warming are enormous. “For example, a shift away from fossil fuels, the main anthropogenic source of greenhouse gas emissions, would require considerable technological advances and large investment, and would have profound social consequences” (Gardiner, 2004). Climate change is still something which cannot be explained thoroughly. International superpowers cannot simply abandon their interests because of something that is not verified.
Global warming is believed to be a result of the fact that humankind has released large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. If nothing is done concerning greenhouse gas emissions, “global average air surface temperature toward the end of the twenty first century would be 3 — 6Â°C higher than the level prevailing before the Industrial Revolution, resulting in drastic changes in climatic conditions and accompanying disruption of the biological and ecological environments” (Uzawa, 2003, p. 22). Various governments have come up with programs meant to fight global warming, primarily by imposing taxes on the emission of greenhouse gases.
In spite of the frequent connections made between global warming and human intervention, it appears that there are no certain facts to prove that global warming is, in reality, a process caused by man. A large percent of the news issued in the present is filled with information regarding global warming and how people are responsible for it. However, matters seem to be different when considering the fact that this is not the warmest weather that the planet has seen. It would appear that the planet has undergone several warm periods, as well as several ice ages.
The Vikings, for example, discovered Greenland during the Medieval Period, and it had been because of the warm temperature on the island that they discovered its potential (Behreandt, 2006). Because of such facts, it becomes less believable that the warming process undergone by the planet at the moment is mailnly due to the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of burning fossil fuels. Considering that the planet has previously experienced periods of climate change, the best theory relating to global warming and greenhouse gases is the one that the toxic substances have affected climate change by accelerating the process. While it should normally occur in a longer period of time, global warming is happening fast, destabilizing the planet and having a devastating effect on it.
The media has a negative influence on the masses, as it normally presents global warming as a much more severe matter than it actually is. Even though there is evidence that global warming is also a cause of human intervention, the media has engaged in a process of accentuating the concept, bringing it to the phase when it seems straightforwardly absurd. It seems that the facts presented along with the concept of global warming are more often backed politicians and the media than they are by scientists.
In spite of the fact that it is an intensely studied topic, climate change is yet to be totally understood by scientists, who still have trouble determining the cause for more than a few weather effects. It is much easier for politicians and the media to make claims about global warming than it is for competent scientists. Because people are confused by unverified sources, they tend to act skeptical when relating to climate change, observing that certain individuals are trying to exploit it and turn it into profits.
The media is continuously trying to alert people concerning the gravity of their actions, but it does not say anything about how some of the information that they support is unconvincing and has no significant points. What is curious is that most people promoting the concept that mankind needs to stop global warming seem reluctant to partake in the process themselves. This is somewhat explainable through the fact that it always seems easier to use others in order to achieve one’s purposes, rather than getting involved oneself.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma is again present, with individuals putting across their determination to stop global warming, and how it would be best for everyone to act immediately for their planet. However, it is though such discourses that one can realize how propaganda is one of the most commonly employed weapons in the present society.
Most people’s reaction to the concept that the planet is warming up is: What proof do you have, and, what proof do you have to demonstrate that this is, in fact, the fault of humanity? It would be absurd for someone to ignore all the changes in temperature from the recent years. Moreover, people that are indifferent to global warming normally consider that it is a natural process and that they cannot do anything to stop it, thus the reason for them refusing to get involved in fighting global warming. Glaciers melting, sea levels rising, polar bears stranded in the middle of the ocean are definitely facts that cannot be contradicted and the rapidity with which these events are occurring is obviously unnatural.
Global warming has reached alarming proportions, and, surprisingly, these proportions are not related to the damage that it produces, but to the pessimism regarding the process and the future of humanity. Most people know very little information about global warming, and yet they are worried that the carbon dioxide produced through burning fossil fuels is the main cause for the fact that the planet is heating.
Environmentalists generally lobby against the emission of greenhouse gases, claiming that they are polluting the atmosphere. However, little do they actually know about how “carbon dioxide plays an essential role in maintaining life and as part of Earth’s temperature control system,” and it cannot possibly be considered a contaminant. Whether or not people have added to the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is irrelevant (Hollander). What actually matters is the degree to which global warming has been influenced by greenhouse gases.
The factors influencing global warming are referred to as forcings and scientists have struggled to determine the level to which mankind is responsible for these factors. Apparently, in spite of the fact that natural events have contributed to global warming to a certain level, the main cause for the occurrence are humans. In spite of their apparent involvement in pollution, natural events such as volcano activity and solar variability are not strong enough to have an effect on the planet’s temperature. (Global warming: Yes, it Is Very Real)
Today’s science is unable to provide humans with sufficient information regarding the planet’s geophysical process and it is not advisable to make predictions on the subject of global warming and its causes (Behreandt). This is considered to be a good enough reason for some countries not to take on measures to stop global warming. Even with that, because the process has emerged at the same time as humans have released large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it is not easy to determine whether or not people have had a decisive influence in it.
It is not yet certain what the effects of global warming will be, but scientists imagine that the most probable consequences will relate to storms, heat waves, droughts, floods, and similar calamities. While most people are aware that their actions make them directly responsible for global warming, they are unwilling to act in favor of the process being ameliorated and eventually stopped. It seems that the profits that people make in the present are more important than the near future. Fossil fuels exploited to their maximum capacity are immediately supported by deforestation with humanity irresponsibly pushing its case further.
Fighting global warming involves diverse benefits and costs for various countries, depending on a series of factors. Based on their production, some countries can find it difficult to subject to the demands made by an international government wanting everyone to emit as little greenhouse gases and to cut as little forests as possible.
The burning of fossil fuels along with deforestation has devastating effects on the environment. Too much CO2 is produced and there are no more plants to absorb the chemical compound, thus resulting in the heating up of the planet. Considering the fact that humans are the main cause for the planet warming up, it is only natural for the process to be stopped only if people would get actively involved in trying to rescue their home.
Large industrialists would have a lot to lose if they were to tax carbon dioxide emissions, with most companies in the domain feeling less willing of developing their business in the countries they formerly preferred. “Or, in the effort to protect global biodiversity against deforestation, a country like Brazil might demand side payments if it sees itself as a cooperative loser that would bear major domestic costs but share only a fraction of the global gains” (Baert Wiener, 1999). It would be complicated to develop a global warming strategy which would favor certain countries, as some would become inclined to take advantage of their position.
If industrialized countries or countries specialized in exploiting forests would be allowed to continue their business while other countries would limit their greenhouse gas emissions, matters would become critical. If Russia and Brazil, for example, were to be given influenced to make significant changes so as to contribute to the fight against global warming, they would observe the chance of expanding their industries, regardless of the fact that this would produce even more greenhouse gases.
Apparently, the one of the most important aspects in fighting global warming is not related to the fact that rich countries are reluctant to develop programs to combat global warming, but that concerning developing countries, and the fact that most would express their lack of enthusiasm about contributing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Baert Wiener). Their reason for doing so is that they are aware that decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions and putting a tax on them would have devastating results for their economies, not to mention that they are already experiencing difficulties.
Society is presented with an ethical dilemma in the fight against global warming, as it has to choose between depriving rich countries of their right to emit greenhouse gases (with poorer countries getting the chance of increasing their greenhouse gas emissions) and depriving poor countries of their right to emit greenhouse gases (which would basically mean that they would be left without one of their most important industries).
The global temperature near the planet’s surface has increased significantly in the recent years. In spite of the fact that people consider a difference of a few degrees to be of no consequence to the overall condition of the planet, this is actually more dangerous than some might think.
All domains are known to be affected by global warming, with economic and social success being destabilized by the fact that Earth’s temperature is constantly rising. Even though the global warming process has been hurried in the second half of the twentieth century by the advance in technology and industry, people have raised questions relating to the earth going through a warming process ever since the end of the nineteenth century. In order for atmospheric equilibrium to be restored, people have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and this can be primarily achieved through stopping the destruction of tropical forests and burning as little fossil fuels as possible.
1. Axelrod R. (1984). The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books.
2. Baert Wiener J. (1999). Global Environmental Regulation: Instrument Choice in Legal Context. Yale Law Journal 108.4
3. Behreandt D. (18 Sept. 2006). “Global Warming Too Hot or Not? The Theory of Global Warming Proposes That Man’s Activities Are Causing the Earth to Heat Up, but There Is Compelling Scientific Evidence That Does Not Support This Conclusion,” the New American.
4. Clemons E.K. Schimmelbusch H. “The Environmental Prisoners’ Dilemma or We’re All in This Together: Can I Trust You to Figure it Out?” Retrieved May 6, 2010, from the Warton School of the University in Pennsylvania Web site: http://opim.wharton.upenn.edu/~clemons/blogs/prisonersblog.pdf
5. Cline W.R. (1992). The Economics of Global Warming. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.
6. Gardiner S.M. (2004). The Global Warming Tragedy and the Dangerous Illusion of the Kyoto Protocol. Ethics & International Affairs 18.1.
7. Gibbs Pleune J. (2008). Is Scalian Standing the Latest Sighting of the Lochner-Ess Monster? Using Global Warming to Explore the Myth of the Corporate Person. Environmental Law 38.1.
8. Paterson M. (1996)Global Warming and Global Politics. New York: Routledge.
9. Uzawa H. (2003). Economic Theory and Global Warming. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
10. “Global warming: Yes, it Is Very Real,” the Register-Guard (Eugene, or) 20 Jan. 2008: B15
11. Global Warming: Both Sides.The Wilson Quarterly Spring 2003.
12. “Playing games with the planet.” (Sep 27th, 2007). The Economist.
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