Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons: Reframing Effective Climate Change Governance (2017)

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The tragedy of the commons provides a powerful narrative for a class of environmental problems, and serves to frame them in a way that allows people to identify effective solution strategies. But the problem frame also rests on a set of factual and value-based assumptions, and is inappropriate to guide decision-making when these assumptions are violated. The climate change mitigation challenge – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from the energy sector, to limit global warming to less than 1.5 or 2 °C – violates these assumptions. Climate change requires us not to reduce, but to completely prohibit greenhouse gas emissions. Before any such prohibition is feasible, it is first essential to develop a clean energy system that can meet our basic needs. The main barriers to this are not economic, but rather are associated with evolving knowledge, networks, and institutions. Framing climate change in evolutionary terms can help us to appraise policy options more effectively, and ultimate identify those that get us where we need to go.
Year: 2017
Language: English
In: Energy Research & Social Science, 34 : 1-3 p.

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