There is an upcoming climate change summit in Paris. According to a Mashable article about President Obama’s plan for the summit he has announced that before the summit that America is going to increase its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If reducing emissions is the source of utility and the nations are colluding to maximize utility, is it possible that the president could be leveraging a first mover advantage?
The president is also encouraging other nations to also announce their commitments before the official negotiations begin. Knowing that the US was planning to reduce emissions may incentivize other nations to rely on the US to make reductions while increasing their own emissions. It appears that the president may have given a second mover advantage to the other nations. Other nations may be reluctant to make large reductions if they can rely on larger American reductions.
The climate change summit in an interesting game theory case. The convention may not produce a formal treaty. A treaty would have to be passed in congress, and may not be ratified. As pointed out in the article the convention will need “some mechanism” to induce large enough commitments to reach what the UN considers a necessary threshold. Climate change issues seem to constitute an endlessly repeated game or a game with an uncertain ending period. This may help the nations find an equilibrium point with all nations making large reductions.