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MIRaW - Mathematics Interdisciplinary Research

Mathematics and climate change mitigation
Monday 27 April 2009
Organisers: Chris Jones and David Mond

All talks will be in Lecture Room B3.02 in the Mathematics Institute, Zeeman Building.

Climate change is a pressing concern for all informed citizens. Despite decades of publicity and negotiation, and increasingly dramatic warnings, the treaties and strategies for mitigation so far implemented appear to be having little or no effect on global emissions. This meeting will bring together mathematicians and others interested in modelling the very complex problems underlying mitigation strategies.


10.00 - 10.30 Coffee in the Mathematics Common Room
10.30 - 11.30 David Frame (Oxford) Climate mitigation policy based on cumulative CO2 emissions
11.45 - 12.45 Jorge Pacheco (Lisbon) Evolutionary dynamics of collective action
12.45 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.00 Peter Cox (Exeter) Environmental Limits to growth: instabilities and dangerous rates of change
15.15 - 16.15 Peter Hammond (Warwick) Can we improve the economics of climate change?
16.15 - 16.30 Tea
16.30 - 17.00 Discussion
17.00 - 18.00 Wine and snacks in the Mathematics Common Room


Jorge Pacheco (Lisbon) Evolutionary Dynamics of Collective Action ((PDF Document) pdf of talk)

Collective action often requires the participation of several individuals, who should decide whether to participate or not in a joint enterprise. Public Goods Games provide the appropriate mathematical tool to address these types of problems, which may deal with situations ranging from family issues to global warming. Evolutionary game theory predicts that the temptation to forgo the public good mostly wins over collective cooperative action, something which is often confirmed in behavioural economic experiments. Here I will address 2 important aspects of evolutionary game theory which have been neglected so far in the context of public goods games: On one hand, the fact that often there is a threshold above which a public good is reached. On the other hand, the fact that individuals often participate in several games, related to their social context and pattern of social ties, defined by a social network. In the first case, the existence of a threshold dictates a rich pattern of evolutionary dynamics: in finite populations, whenever public goods require participation of nearly the entire community, the direction of natural selection can be inverted compared to standard expectations. In networked games, cooperation blooms whenever the act of contributing is more important than the effort contributed.

Peter Hammond (Warwick) Can we improve the economics of climate change?

Peter Cox (Exeter) Environmental Limits to growth: instabilities and dangerous rates of change

David Frame (Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford) t.b.a.

Timings of talks will be added as they becomes available.

For further information contact:

MIRaW Programme Secretary
Mathematics Institute
Zeeman Building
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

E-mail: mrc at maths dot warwick dot ac dot uk