Controlling climate change has significant collective-action aspects, but the importance of these has been exaggerated and efforts misdirected as a result — particularly regarding the feasibility and impact of leading actions to pursue large emission cuts by individual nations or subgroups. Such leading actions need not, as current policy debate presumes, be futile or ruinously costly — particularly if these are viewed as initial steps in a multi-stage pursuit of deep global emission cuts. Serious climate action must confront other challenges, however, that have been neglected in the excessive focus on the global collective-action problem — most importantly, delayed benefits and concentrated opponents. Focusing on these suggests different priorities for action. This policy brief sketches several specific approaches to addressing these challenges, which can be pursued nationally or internationally and which hold greater prospect of success than the present approach.
Focus Less on Collective Action, More on Delayed Benefits and Concentrated Opponents
Fixing Climate Governance Policy Brief No. 4