The Incompatibility of Game Theory and Kyoto Protocol

  • Ernesto Olano Golosino Holy Name University


This research aimed to determine the reasons why Kyoto Protocol failed. 

 In order to gather the needed information, the researcher only utilized information coming from legitimate institutions like the UNFCCC, research about Kyoto Protocol published in the web of science and from the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) journals like Elsevier, Thompson Reuters, SciVerse, Scimago and from commentaries of world leaders and environmentalists.

 In order to access these materials, the researcher utilized EBSCOHOST as the primary search engine, with the aid of google scholar as additional search platform. 

 The research utilized descriptive method coupled with qualitative and quantitative approach.  The results of the study indicated that uncooperative act known as prisoner’s dilemma is the main reason why Kyoto Protocol failed.  The presence of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is the main convenor of Kyoto Protocol proved to be useless.  It has no police power and cannot even sanction erring members or parties to the agreement.

 Meeting the goals of Kyoto Protocol is hard to accomplish when the parties involved betray in the agreement like what happened to the two prisoners in the highly celebrated doctrine of known cooperation known as Prisoner’s dilemma.


Aldy, Joseph E.; Pizer, William A. (2009). Issues in Designing U.S Climate Change Policy. International Association for Energy Journal.

Almer, Christian; Winkler, Ralph (2017). Analyzing the effectiveness of international environmental policies: The case of the Kyoto Protocol
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 125-151.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2016.11.003


Barrett, Scott (2008). Climate Treaties and the Imperative of Enforcement
Oxford Review of Economic Policy: Volume 24, Number 2, 2008, pp 239-258

Beggs, Jodie (2018). The Prisoner’s Dilemma. ThoughtCo.

Böhringer, Christoph; Vogt, Carsten (2004). Economic and environmental impacts of the Kyoto Protocol
Canadian Journal of Economics

Böhringer, Christoph and Rutherford, Thomas (2010). The Costs of Compliance: A CGE Assessment of Canada’s Policy Options under the Kyoto Protocol
The World Economy, 2010, vol. 33, issue 2, 177-211

Chander, Parkash; Tulkens, Henry; Ypersele, Jean-Pascal Van; Willems, Stephanie (1999). The Kyoto Protocol: An Economic and Game Theoretic Interpretation
Center for Operations Research and Econometrics Working Paper No. 9925, CESifo Working Paper Series No. 229

Dasgupta, Susmita; Benoit Laplante, Hua Wang and David Wheeler (2002). Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve
Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 16, Number 1—Winter 2002—Pages 147–168
Falkner, Robert (2019). The unavoidability of justice – and order – in international climate politics: From Kyoto to Paris and beyond

Frank, Robert H.; Bernanke, Ben S.; Antonovics, Kate; Heffetz Ori. Principles of Microeconomics 7th Edition.
McGraw-Hill Education, 2 Penn Plaza, NY 10121. 2019

Ferrey, Steven (2010). The Failure of International Global Warming Regulation to Promote Needed Renewable Energy
Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

Finus, Michael. (2008). Game Theoretic Research on the Design of International Environmental Agreements: Insights, Critical Remarks, and Future Challenges.
International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics
DOI: 10.1561/101.00000011

Funk & Wagnall's New World Encyclopedia

George-Duckworth, Andriana M. (2011) The Collective Goods Problem in Managing Environmental Issues, Peace Review, 23:2, 214-220, DOI: 10.1080/10402659.2011.571614

Grant, Ruth W.; Keohane, Robert O. (2005). Accountability and Abuses of Power in World Politics
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 April 2005

Helm, Carsten (2003). International emissions trading with endogenous allowance choices
Journal of Public Economics
Volume 87, Issue 12, December 2003, Pages 2737-2747

Helm, Dieter (2012). The Kyoto Approach Has Failed. Nature Briefing Newsletter
Nature 491, 663–665 (2012)

Jaffe, Adam B. ; Peterson, Steven R. Portney, Paul R. and Stavins Robert N. (1995) . Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?
Journal of Economic Literature
Vol. 33, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 132-163 (32 pages)
Published By: American Economic Association

Kumazawa, Risa & Callaghan, Michael (2012). "The effect of the Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions,"
Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 36(1), pages 201-210, January.
DOI: 10.1007/s12197-010-9164-5

Mankiw, N. Gregory (2006). Principles of Microeconomics 5th Edition.
Harvard University. South-Western Cengage Learning

McKibbin, Warwick, J., Wilcoxen, and Peter J. (2002). "The Role of Economics in Climate Change Policy."
Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16 (2): 107-129.
DOI: 10.1257/0895330027283

McLean, Elena V. and Stone, Randall W. (2012). Two-Level Bargaining and European Integration
International Studies Quarterly
Vol. 56, No. 1 (March 2012), pp. 99-113 (15 pages)
Published By: Wiley

Newell, Richard G.; Pizer, William A.; Raimi, Daniel (2013). Carbon Markets 15 Years after Kyoto: Lessons Learned, New Challenges.
Journal of Economic Perspectives
Vol. 27, No. 1, Winter 2013 (pp. 123-146)
DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.1.123

Nordhaus, William D. (2008). Economic Analyses of Kyoto Protocol: Is There Life After Kyoto

Poulopoulos, Stavros; Inglezakis, Vassilis (2016). Basic Principles, Human Activities, and Environmental Implications. Elsevier 2021

Rollings-Magnusson, Sandra; Magnusson, Robert C. (2000). The Kyoto Protocol: Implications of a Flawed but Important Environmental Policy
Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(3), pages 347-359, September.

Sathiendrakumar, R. (2003). Greenhouse emission reduction and sustainable development. International Journal of Social Economics 30(12):1233-1248
DOI: 10.1108/03068290310500643

Seo, S. Niggol (2017). Negotiating a Global Public Good
The Behavioral Economics of Climate Change, 2017

Schiermeier, Quirin (2012). The Kyoto Protocol: Hot Air
National Library of Medicine. National Center for Biotechnology Information
DOI: 10.1038/491656a

Sterescu, Andreï-Bogdan (2018). The Prisoner’s Dilemma in Environmental Politics: One Model to Rule Them All?

Tian, Wenjie ; Wu, Xudong ; Zhao, Xueli ; Ma, Rong; Zhang, Bo (2019)
Quantifying global CH4 and N2O footprints
Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 251, 1 December 2019, 109566

Tresch, Richard W. (2015). An Application of Externality Theory.
Public Finance, A Normative Theory
3rd Edition 2015

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Victor, David G. (2001). The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming. Princeton University Press
How to Cite
GOLOSINO, Ernesto Olano. The Incompatibility of Game Theory and Kyoto Protocol. Asian Journal of Research in Education and Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 3, p. 104-118, sep. 2021. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 09 dec. 2021.