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On Climate Change and Cyber Attacks: Leveraging Polycentric Governance to Mitigate Global Collective Action Problems

51 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2015 Last revised: 5 Oct 2015

Scott Shackelford

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law; Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs; Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research; Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Stanford Law School

Date Written: July 13, 2015

Abstract

Although the atmosphere and cyberspace are distinct arenas, they share similar problems of overuse, difficulties of enforcement, and the associated challenges of collective inaction and free riders. Moreover, “[m]illions of actors affect the global atmosphere[,]” just as they do the Internet. With weather patterns changing, global sea levels rising, and temperatures set to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, climate change is a problem affecting the entire world, but one in which benefits are dispersed and the harms are often concentrated. Similarly, the cost of cyber attacks is concentrated in a relatively small number of nations even as others are becoming havens for cybercriminals. Yet it is also true that actions taken by a multiplicity of actors on a small scale can impact both the global climate change problem and the cause of promoting a global culture of cybersecurity. This Article tracks the evolution of the climate change regime focusing both on top-down UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and bottom-up bilateral and regional efforts and then compares and contrasts this history with Internet governance. The potential of polycentric governance to mitigate the two global collective action problems of climate change and cyber attacks is assessed even as policymakers increasingly head in this direction such as may be seen by the preparations for the 2015 Conference of the Parties in Paris and statements made by the President of Estonia and Director of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Keywords: cybersecurity, climate change, cyber attack, Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC, Montreal Protocol, sustainability

Suggested Citation

Shackelford, Scott, On Climate Change and Cyber Attacks: Leveraging Polycentric Governance to Mitigate Global Collective Action Problems (July 13, 2015). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, 2016; Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 15-54. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2630333 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2630333

Scott J. Shackelford (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs ( email )

79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research ( email )

Wylie Hall 105
100 South Woodlawn
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Stanford Center for Internet and Society ( email )

Palo Alto, CA
United States

Stanford Law School ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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