Environmental Trading Games: Emissions Trading

Published: 2012

Author: Corey Allan

Motu has developed a game where participants take part in a simplified emissions trading system or simplified nutrient trading system. This was designed to give participants ‘hands on’ experience of trading.

Emissions Trading System

Participants manage either a dairy farm or a sheep/beef farm. Each farmer decides how much to produce each year. When they increase production they increase their emissions. During the game, regulations to control emissions will be introduced. Students will have to respond by altering their production.

We welcome questions, and would also be happy to hear about your experiences playing the game via info@motu.org.nz

Game materials

The  game consists of two files. The emissions game handouts for players includes one sheet for dairy farmers and one sheet for sheep/beef farmers. Each should keep their sheet confidential. Instructors will need one copy of the emissions game teachers notes

We suggest using these materials across two sessions:

Session 1

  • Emissions trading game presentation on the nutrient trading game (2 minutes).
  • Trading game. This takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, including and depending upon discussion time. The extension (a demonstration of the impact of allocation) will take additional time, and could be carried over to session 2. 

Session 2

  • Short films available on Youtube: 5 minutes and 11 minutes respectively. 
  • Further discussion and/or allocation extension.

Nutrient trading game

A trading game for water quality (nutrient) trading is also available. It is identical to the version described here, except that it refers to nutrients in place of greenhouse gases.