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What if we can create policies and regulate markets, through a game?



Policies belong to governments. Markets belong to investors. Games belong to people. What if people create policies and regulate markets, through a game?

The idea in a nutshell:

The project consists of a NGO that manages a cooperative game. The game involves the users in the emission trading market, make them initiate green actions and give them awareness about their power to change things.

Users can buy EU ETS allowances and donate them to the NGO, effectively eliminating them from the market. Users can also donate money to the NGO. Every US dollar of EU ETS allowances/money donations is worth a point in the game. The user that bought the EU ETS allowances or gave a donation will get the equivalent number of points. What can a user do with those points? The points will enable the user to propose actions and distribute the points to other users who voluntarily took those actions.

Examples of actions: Go vegan for a day (Upload pictures of the meals), Plant a tree (Upload pictures), Tweet to X company that has no plan of reducing GHGE and ask them nicely to do it, etc.

This mechanism allows every user to accumulate points (through buying EU ETS allowances, or taking actions) and propose actions that will be taken by other users.

The amount of points that is being exchanged is equivalent to the value of EU ETS allowances/donated money that the NGO possesses.

The users that don’t have any idea of an action can donate their points to the NGO and the NGO will propose an action.

Example by a comic:

Some independent background information:

1- EU ETS: Every year the EU issues a fixed amount of greenhouse gas allowances. The allowances can be traded & sold in the market. If for example, a company exceeds its emissions, it can buy allowances from other companies. One major problem of the EU ETS is over allocation. This results in relatively cheap EU ETS allowances in the market. "Opportunities for voluntary buyers to purchase and cancel tradable compliance units currently exist in several markets"[5]

2- Change should be supported by the people. In fact, governments are directly responsible for only a small proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. "Almost 80% of GHG emissions from human sources come from the burning of fossil fuels and industrial processes. Specific activities include the following: driving vehicles, electricity production, heating and cooling of buildings, operation of appliances and equipment, production and transportation of goods, and provision of services and transportation for communities."[1]

3- Awareness is missing: People in developing countries have very little awareness of climate change. In North America, Europe and Japan, more than 90 percent of the public is aware of climate change. But in many developing countries relatively few are aware of the issue. [2]

What are the objectives?

  1. Make people real actors. After collecting points, users can become initiators of green actions, involve other users and give them points in return, leading them to become initiators of green actions as well.

  2. Increase the global awareness and green habits: By taking green actions and thinking about green actions to propose, users will realize how easy it can be. A global consciousness that can lead to green habits will be created.

  3. Reduction of emission and eventually increase the market price of the ETS allowances to make companies pay more for greenhouse emissions.

What is the role of the NGO?

1- Managing the application

2- Managing and controlling the actions

3- Proposing actions with the points donated by the users

4- Keeping documentation about the money usage and the progress achieved

How will the users communicate? Get to understand actions posted in another language?

The translation of actions will be supported by the language grid, a project from our lab.

How does the ‘G’ NGO gets the money to buy EU ETS and maintain the application?

People will donate  EU ETS as well as money to the NGO and get points in return.

Which plan do you select for China?

Value not set.

Which plan do you select for India?

India’s Future for Climate Change: Human Involvement and Individual Leadership

Which plan do you select for the United States?

Unify America: Set the Example by Leading from the Front

Which plan do you select for Europe?

Destroy Carbon

Which plan do you select for other developing countries?

Changing attitudes towards Climate Change in Pakistan

Which plan do you select for other developed countries?


What additional cross-regional proposals are included in your plan, if any?

How do the regional and cross-sectoral plans above fit together?

Some proposals focus on the importance of awareness and individual initiatives. Other proposals focus on ways to encourage people through games by introducing some game mechanisms. The chosen European proposal introduces the idea of people buying EU ETS

The proposal uses all the above proposals to create a system that will encourage people globally to take green actions by involving them in the global market, making the take green initiatives and making them play.

Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

What are the plan’s key benefits?

Desirable outcomes:

  1. Show people what are the green actions they can take.
  2. Make the actions easy to take.
  3. Make people realize that their contribution is important and that they have control.

4. Reduce emissions and eventually increase EU ETS allowances prices on the market.



Easy: The actions proposed will be very simple, some of them can be achieved by a click.

Global: The EU ETS allowances is an important part of this proposal. It may concern Europe exclusively, however, including it involves users from all around the world in climate policies and make them realize that they can change things.

This proposal allows different green actions, in different parts of the planet. Users will be circulating the points, working collaboratively to initiate actions, and take actions.

Furthermore, Users can participate and communicate in their language through the app using the language grid.

Social: Research showed how people collaborate around physical photos.[3] The application will be social and interactive. 


What are the plan’s costs?

Users will not have to pay any fee to use the application.

Cost: As an initial cost, The NGO have the server cost as well as a marketing campaign.

Later on, the NGO will have the servers costs as well as the cost of maintaining the application. 

The NGO should receive ETS allowances donations as well as monetary support. If the money donations exceed the costs, the NGO can take other green actions or buy more EU ETS allowance.


What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

The key challenges of this proposal consist of two parts;

First, we need to attract people to join the Web-based game and use it sustainably. We need an "attractive" mechanism for users. We can find interesting ideas  in the proposal,  useful points for setting up the mechanism.

The NGO needs  a good reputation. The public relations as well as the marketing are important to get public estimation and reliability. On this point, we might be able to get support from some veteran NGO around the world.


Rough timeline of this project as follows;

1st-2nd year:
Organizing NGO
Setting up the APP
Finding sponsors

3rd year:
Starting Beta version of the APP
Starting the marketing campaign (Trying to find some celebrities that may join, social media, etc.)

4th year:
Launching the service


1- lang=En&n=D4C4DBAB-1


3- Miller, Andrew D., and W. Keith Edwards. "Give and take: a study of consumer photo-sharing culture and practice." Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. ACM, 2007.

4- Domínguez, A; Navarrete, J.S; Marcos, L; Fernández-Sanz, L; Pagés, C; Martínez-Herráiz, J(2013), Gamifying learning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes, 
Computers & Education, v63, p380-392.