Welcome to the inaugural post of Future Human: Covering the prospects of Homo sapiens and the future of humanity.
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If we were assured that climate change would doom the planet's future, we'd all chip in to help stop it, right? Well, maybe not. An interesting forecast from researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute contends that humans have a fifty-fifty shot of cooperating on climate for the benefit of the common good.
In a recent PNAS paper, they detail the results of a climate-change game they devised to test an age-old social dilemma dubbed "the Tragedy of the Commons" by ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968. The tragedy arises when a shared resource (such as the planet) benefits the individual yet is doomed when too many individuals exploit it.
In the game, undergraduates were given 40 euros apiece and assembled in groups of six. Each group's goal was to amass just 120 euros in a computerized "climate kitty" through successive individual contributions. Each player was anonymous but could see how much others were contributing.
The researchers then engineered a tradeoff for players: If the group met the sum, climate change would be averted and humanity saved, and each player would be able to pocket whatever money he or she didn't invest. However, if the sum wasn't met, not only was the planet lost, but there was a 90 percent certainty that everyone's pocket money disappeared. Lower-risk versions of the game also tested this certainty at 50 percent and 10 percent.
The results? Half of the groups managed to work together to protect both the environment and their wallets. The other half came close but wound up with the worst possible outcome—no planet, no cash. Yet this result occurred only in the highest-risk (90 percent) version of the game. When the risk of loss was reduced, cooperation was virtually nil.
"We cannot rely on people to always behave rationally," the researchers concluded. Too many players, they found, were free riders: they relied on altruists to invest in climate, and walked away scot-free. It's interesting to consider this dilemma in the context of a political summit on climate where each country stands to lose economically in the short-term. But cooperation among the 6.65 billion people on Earth is monumentally more daunting. It makes me wonder: Is our species evolutionarily built to win this game?
Clean up After everyone else including the people we drag behind us. Reality sucks. I think we are a little to comfortable to let some, nature; tell us were done.
- The best guess is a Theory.
When is Popular Science going to deal with the most abundant and powerful greenhouse gas that can change our planet's temperature? No, it's not CO2. 95% of greenhouse gas is water vapor which as we all know traps heat. Check it out for yourself.
Water vapor's contribution is huge, but, but the heat coming from the planet's mantel is even bigger and it doesn't depend on evaporation like water vapor does. Oh right, that's pretty constant. Of course evaporation is lessened by the clouds that water vapor causes so... so maybe water vapor cancels itself out.
No, no that can't be, that's just too simple!
Try to ignore methane because it's a very potent greenhouse gas and huge amounts of it may just be evaporated by more atmospheric heat and less snow coverage. It's the Omigod, I thought they said this would take decades, scenario!
Same set up: Six people need to reach 120. Allow for anonymous donations etc.
Here's the Twist
Each player will start off with 80 Euros.
At the Start
Require them all to graciously give 50 Euros to an outside fund that does about 20 Euros worth of good and promotes a lot of things they might not agree with.
Then allow one of the Six to be the Self proclaimed leader of the Group.....The Loudest, Most Annoying one with ties to that outside fund (For Short, We'll call him AL)
Then once the game has started, allow only those that have 40 or more Euros to take money back out of the Pot by creating Bogus Companies that sound like they are helping to reach the goal of 120 Euros. ...
Oh yes and a couple more things....Since AL had connections, he only had to give 10 Euros to the outside fund (because He's so likeable)
And Since AL not only likes being Rich, He wants Respectability, so He makes it clear that a limitted few players might benefit IF they Suck up to him...
Now that would be a more realistic game........I'd bet against them ever making the 120 Euros