In his book, Yang takes the RICE model and brings it to bear on another hot area in economics: game theory. Game theory allows economists to examine the decision-making process in a scenario in which there are multiple people making decisions and those actions affect the other people.
Yang writes in "Strategic Bargaining and Cooperation in Greenhouse Gas Mitigations" that he observed integrated assessment and game theory as "twin peaks in economic research on climate change" unconnected by any bridge. He set out to change that, with a powerful computer and research funding from the Department of Energy.
Among the book's most important conclusions is that climate agreements cannot require too much of industrialized nations or too little from the rest of the world.
"With climate change, everybody contributes to the problem," Yang said. "Everybody emits CO2. And the environmental damage will be felt by everybody. So in that situation, it is not efficient to have only some countries shoulder the burden."
Yang's research has attracted international attention. Yang spoke last summer at a climate-change conference in Venice and spent the fall 2009 semester on sabbatical at the Universit Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.
"Zili Yang's book provides a clear explanation of important analytical tools that are crucial to understanding and analyzing a country's incentive to control climate change," said Carlo Carraro, an environmental economist who is rector of the University of Venice and was an organizer of the conference there. He added that Yang's model provided "crucial information" to policymakers who participated in the 2009 climate negotiations in Copenhagen.
Influencing such discussions is at the core of Yang's ambitions for his work.
"Fifteen years from now, from a science point of view, everything about climate cha
|Contact: Gail Glover|