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PS25
ostrom1_Romolo Tavani_Getty images_climate Romolo Tavani/Getty Images

Green from the Grassroots

To commemorate its founding 25 years ago, PS is republishing a selection of commentaries written since 1994. In the following commentary, Elinor Ostrom argued that diverse policies at the city, subnational, national, and international levels are more likely to rein in climate change than are inflexible global agreements.

BLOOMINGTON – Much is riding on the United Nations Rio+20 summit. Many are billing it as Plan A for Planet Earth and want leaders bound to a single international agreement to protect our life-support system and prevent a global humanitarian crisis.

But while inaction in Rio would be disastrous, a single international agreement would be a grave mistake. We cannot rely on singular global policies to solve the problem of managing our common resources: the oceans, atmosphere, forests, waterways, and rich diversity of life that combine to create the right conditions for life, including seven billion humans, to thrive.

We have never had to deal with problems of the scale facing today’s globally interconnected society. No one knows for sure what will work, so it is important to build a system that can evolve and adapt rapidly.

25 years of the World's Opinion Page

Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

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Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

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  1. guriev24_ Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images_putin broadcast Peter Kovalev/TASS via Getty Images

    Putin’s Meaningless Coup

    Sergei Guriev

    The message of Vladimir Putin’s call in his recent state-of-the-nation speech for a constitutional overhaul is not that the Russian regime is going to be transformed; it isn’t. Rather, the message is that Putin knows his regime is on the wrong side of history – and he is dead set on keeping it there.

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