After COP21 had successfully been concluded in Paris, the focus of climate negotiations will now on be on Nationally determined contributions to be revised each 5 years, “reflecting the highest possible ambition”, but also “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”. Forthcoming contributions and subsequent agreements will struggle as usual on who should reduce emissions and by how much.

A survey from 2011 among college students in the U.S. and China, revals interesting insights for climate negotiations, showing that in judging what is “fair”, subjects from the U.S. and from China do provide very different responses.

Both groups’ ideas of fairness tended towards their own national interests. However, the difference is completely eliminated by merely labeling the parties “Country A” and “Country B”. They argue that this points to self-serving bias as the driving force behind disagreement. Interventions to mitigate self-serving bias, if discovered, can greatly improve our prospects of reaching a international agreements on greenhouse gas emissions reduction.