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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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https://prosyn.org/9OJ6QRY;
  1. bildt69_DELIL SOULEIMANAFP via Getty Images_syriansoldiermissilegun Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

    Time to Bite the Bullet in Syria

    Carl Bildt

    US President Donald Trump's impulsive decision to pull American troops out of northern Syria and allow Turkey to launch a military campaign against the Kurds there has proved utterly disastrous. But a crisis was already inevitable, given the realities on the ground and the absence of a coherent US or Western policy in Syria.

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