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Predicting Paris: Multi-Method Approaches to Forecast the Outcomes of Global Climate Negotiations

Detlef Sprinz, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Steffen Kallbekken, Frans Stokman, Håkon Sælen, Robert Thomson

We examine the negotiations held under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change in Paris, December 2015. Prior to these negotiations, there was considerable uncertainty about whether an agreement would be reached, particularly given that the world’s leaders failed to do so in the 2009 negotiations held in Copenhagen. Amid this uncertainty, we applied three different methods to predict the outcomes: an expert survey and two negotiation simulation models, namely the Exchange Model and the Predictioneer’s Game. After the event, these predictions were assessed against the coded texts that were agreed in Paris. The evidence suggests that combining experts’ predictions to reach a collective expert prediction makes for significantly more accurate predictions than individual experts’ predictions. The differences in the performance between the two different negotiation simulation models were not statistically significant.

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