Peter Lynn Himself
January  2020
THIS WARMING PLANET AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS
'The tragedy of the commons' (TOTC) is an economic concept named for a feature of feudal era English land use by which tenants were granted exclusive use of defined areas and non-exclusive use of the "commons" for extra grazing. The 'commons' became a byword for overgrazing and poor land management- take what you can, when you can, or someone else will- and don't spend time on upkeep or improvements, because the benefits mainly accrue to others. Individual tenancies or ownership eventually replaced shared use when social pressure and manorial authority proved unable to control over-use and lack of care. The Scottish Highland clearances of the 18th century were reforms of various TOTC problems inherent in the crofting system. The collapse of the USSR was a TOTC event; not even the horror of the gulags being sufficient threat to make people behave collectively. Public toilets and communal kitchens are more immediate examples.
During wars, floods, earthquakes and etc, people are capable of great personal sacrifice, but most people, most of the time, look to what's in it for them, and exhortations to work for 'the public good' get no more than lip service. In small cohesive communities, authority and social pressure can control the over-use of shared resources, but never on a global scale that I know of. Limiting CFCs to reduce ozone depletion comes closest, but international borders, the Law of the Sea, the Paris Accords and etc are ignored with impunity when it suits a country's purposes- the South China Sea for example. This is a reality on which international policy needs to be based.

Which is unfortunate for global warming- 'climate change' to those who like to blame every adverse weather event on Adam's offenses in the Garden of Eden.
To my view it's pretty obvious that the world is warming to an extent that probably requires action. Many factors affect climate; warming after an ice age, cloud cover, the Milankovitch cycle, sunspots, land use changes, random fluctuations in a dynamic system, green house effects and etc, but current orthodoxy is that human generated greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause and need to be reduced. COP25 in Madrid (2019), a world gathering to advance this cause, was a failure, the latest example of TOTC:


People and countries support action to fix the world's commons - until it effects their pockets or lifestyle. Globally mandated rules like emissions limits cannot work without enforcement, but sovereign countries will not willingly accept direction from an outside authority - and those with nuclear arsenals cannot be compelled to. Even feudal barons with life and death powers could not save the English commons, so the global commons have no chance unless there are solutions that don't require a world policeman

Fortunately there are:

These are ways to cool the world that do not offend sovereignty and avoid the tragedy of the commons.
We don't have to fry!

Peter Lynn, Ashburton, New Zealand, January 1st 2020