The Greatest Tragedy of All: Regulating the Atmosphere in a Climate of Indecision
14 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 5, 2010
Climate change is a serious challenge to our planet. The point of no return will be upon us in 2014 and we are yet to regulate the emission of greenhouse gas. Failure to reach agreement at the 2009 UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen highlighted the difficulties we face in regulating use of the ultimate common pool recourse: our atmosphere. Surrounding these difficulties is the specter of an ideological debate between 'public' and 'private' that is as contentious as ever, and central to this contest is the problem of the free rider. This author will argue that in the long run, a global approach to climate change combining elements of privatization and public control is desirable. This is however proving difficult to achieve. It is contended that in the short term, the polycentric approach advocated by Elinor Ostrom is a desirable alternative and would be of benefit in developing proposals for a long-term solution.
Keywords: Climate Change, Regulation, Governance
JEL Classification: K20, K32, Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation