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The Local Tragedies of Global Climate Policies: Which Kind of Governance, Which Kind of Knowledge?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Merino, Leticia
Conference: Governing Pooled Knowledge Resources: Building Institutions for Sustainable Scientific, Cultural, and Genetic Resources Commons, 1st Thematic IASC Conference on the Knowledge Commons
Location: Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Conf. Date: September 12-14
Date: 2012
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9573
Sector: Global Commons
Subject(s): climate change
Kyoto Protocol
collective action
Ostrom, Elinor
Abstract: "The challenges identified by those who have thought on climate change and the difficulties of mitigation efforts from a commons perspective relate to: Global Climate and Global Climate Regulation Process as Commons. The capacity of the Earth System to regulate the climate can be considered as a shared 'good'. Global climate regulation and the reduction of carbon emissions are dependent on the decisions of multiple actors. The governance of 'climate commons' demands collective action, cooperation and coordination of multiple actors in diverse scales, among whom profound social and political inequalities do exist. Ostrom defined Climate change as a global public bad from which nobody can be excluded. Consequently the initiatives to revert it -- as in the case of public goods -- face 'provision problems': nobody has incentives to take costly actions to avoid negative externalities. Free riding is frequent, as experienced by participants of the Kyoto Protocol, costly measures taken by some actors create global benefits, including those who did not 'cooperate', eroding global credibility and social capital. The complex nature of the processes. There is a great degree of uncertainty, a large gap in terms of knowledge and perception of the causal relations of many actions -- in terms of their carbon footprint -- and outcomes in terms of concrete climatic events and their impacts. There are also profound differences regarding access to information, interests and preferences among relevant actors aggravating problems of freeriding and unwillingness to cooperate. The global and multi-scale nature of the processes. Since climate change is a global process, most recommendations refer to global solutions, and only to global solutions. Sub-national scales, particularly local scales are mostly left aside in terms of governance and agency, even if it is widely accepted that climate change results from 'nested externalities' the accumulation of the impacts of local and regional actions."

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