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A Multi-Scale Approach to Coping with Climate Change and Other Collective Action Problems

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Ostrom, Elinor
Journal: Solutions
Volume: 1
Page(s): 27-36
Date: 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/5774
Sector: Global Commons
Subject(s): collective action
climate change
global warming
resource management
Abstract: "Acknowledging the complexity of global warming, as well as the relatively recent agreement among scientists about the human causes of climate change, leads to the recognition that waiting for effective policies to be established at the global level is unreasonable. Instead, it would be better to self-consciously adopt a multi-scale approach to the problem of climate change, starting at the local level. This approach serves to maximize the benefits at varying levels and encourages experimentation and learning from diverse policies adopted at multiple scales. Currently, efforts to address climate change are being orchestrated primarily by global actors, but waiting for international solutions is wasting valuable time. Conventional wisdom tells us that there are only two options to deal with managing resources: either privatization or management by the state. This view is hindering progress. To successfully address climate change in the long run, the day-to-day activities of individuals, families, firms, communities, and governments at multiple levels--particularly those in the more developed world--will need to change substantially. Encouraging simultaneous actions at multiple scales is an important strategy to address this problem"

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