The Renewable Energy Commons: Global Public Goods, Governance Risk, and International Energy

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"For years, the great bane of international cooperation has been the much-scorned free rider. International public goods such as climate change mitigation, vaccination against disease, reduction in acid rain, and preservation of the ozone layer all require incentivizing states to participate in international institutions when the individually rational thing to do is remain on the sidelines. Lawyers, policymakers, and scholars have come up with a host of devices to deter free riding and encourage participation in global public goods. Issue linkages, trade sanctions, financial assistance, and minimum participation requirements are just some of the carrots and sticks that states use in international public goods institutions. And these efforts have frequently been successful. For example, the Montreal Protocol, which governs ozone-depleting substances and uses financial assistance for developing countries as a carrot coupled with the stick of trade sanctions against non-members, has near-universal membership and has been haled as the single most successful environmental agreement to date. But as the end of 2012 draws near, the inability to conclude a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol is forcing commentators to rethink their approach to supplying global public goods. The traditional tools of international governance have proven inadequate to generate meaningful international cooperation on climate change mitigation. What, then, is the way forward?"
Kyoto Protocol, climate change, mitigation, cooperation, free riding