Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Horizon lecture

Cooperation in the Climate Change Game, Horizon lecture by Manfred Milinski

"Players" can behave altruistically to maintain the Earth’s climate given the right set of circumstances.

Picture of a chess board

Main content

Climate protection is a problem of sustaining a public resource that everybody is free to overuse, as it emerges in many social dilemmas.

We perform a new type of ‘public goods experiment’ with human subjects contributing to a public pool. In contrast to the standard protocol, here the common pool is not divided among the participants; instead, it is promised that the pool will be invested to encourage people to reduce their fossil fuel use.

Our experiments demonstrate that ‘players’ can behave altruistically to maintain the Earth’s climate given the right set of circumstances. Both, to invest publicly, thus gaining social reputation, and the need to reach an additional intermediate collective target to prevent climate risks, such as floods or draughts, can increase contributions substantially. Even the missing cooperative interaction of rich and poor, which caused the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, can be catalyzed by intermediate climate targets.

The event starts with a snack and refreshments in advance of the lecture that begins at 16.15 at Vil Vite, Tormøhlensgt. 55, Tuesday 26 of August.

The lecture is open to all. Welcome!

Find the event on Facebook.

From Wikipedia:
Milinski is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology

He was born in 1950 in Oldenburg. He studied biology and mathematics in Bielefeld and Bochum, went to Oxford University on a Heisenberg Scholarship and in 1987 became Professor of Zoology and Behavioural Ecology at University of Bern. Since 1999 he has been a Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute of Limnology which in 2007 became the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. He has been an Honorary professor at Kiel University since 2000.

His main research fields are Co-operation, Sexual selection and Host-parasite co-evolution.

His publications include:
The collective-risk social dilemma and the prevention of dangerous climate change. PNAS 105:2291-2294 (2008) (with Sommerfeld, R. D., Krambeck, H.-J., Reed, F. A., Marotzke, J.)

The efficient interaction of indirect reciprocity and costly punishment. Nature 444:718-723 (2006) (with Rockenbach, B.)

Mate choice decisions of stickleback females predictably modified by MHC peptide ligands. PNAS 102:4414-4418 (2005) (with Griffiths, S., Wegner, K. M., Reusch, T. B. H., Haas-Assenbaum, A., Boehm, T.)

Parasite selection for immunogenetic optimality. Science 301:1343 (2003) (with Wegner K. M., Kalbe M., Kurtz J., Reusch T. B. H.)

Reputation helps solve the 'tragedy of the commons'. Nature 415:424-426 (2002) (with Semmann D., Krambeck H.-J.)