Global commons

Global commons is a term typically used to describe international, supranational, and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found. Global commons include the earth's shared natural resources, such as the high oceans, the atmosphere and outer space and the Antarctic in particular.[1] Cyberspace may also meet the definition of a global commons.

Definition and usage

"Global commons" is a term typically used to describe international, supranational, and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found. In economics, common goods are rivalrous and non-excludable, constituting one of the four main types of goods.[2] A common-pool resource, also called a common property resource, is a special case of a common good (or public good) whose size or characteristics makes it costly, but not impossible, to exclude potential users. Examples include both natural or human-made resource domains (e.g., a "fishing hole" or an irrigation system). Unlike global public goods, global common-pool resources face problems of congestion, overuse, or degradation because they are subtractable (which makes them rivalrous).[3]

The term "commons" originates from the term common land in the British Isles.[4] "Commoners rights" referred to traditional rights held by commoners, such as mowing meadows for hay or grazing livestock on common land held in the open field system of old English common law. Enclosure was the process that ended those traditional rights, converting open fields to private property. Today, many commons still exist in England, Wales, Scotland, and the United States, although their extent is much reduced from the millions of acres that existed until the 17th century.[5] There are still over 7,000 registered commons in England alone.[6]

The term "global commons" is typically used to indicate the earth's shared natural resources, such as the deep oceans, the atmosphere, outer space and the Northern and Southern polar regions, the Antarctic in particular.[7]

According to the World Conservation Strategy, a report on conservation published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in collaboration with UNESCO and with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF):

"A commons is a tract of land or water owned or used jointly by the members of a community. The global commons includes those parts of the Earth's surface beyond national jurisdictions — notably the open ocean and the living resources found there — or held in common — notably the atmosphere. The only landmass that may be regarded as part of the global commons is Antarctica ..."[8]

Today, the Internet, World Wide Web and resulting cyberspace are often referred to as global commons.[9] Other usages sometimes include references to open access information of all kinds, including arts and culture, language and science, though these are more formally referred to as the common heritage of mankind.[10]

Management of the global commons

The key challenge of the global commons is the design of governance structures and management systems capable of addressing the complexity of multiple public and private interests, subject to often unpredictable changes, ranging from the local to the global level.[11] As with global public goods, management of the global commons requires pluralistic legal entities, usually international and supranational, public and private, structured to match the diversity of interests and the type of resource to be managed, and stringent enough with adequate incentives to ensure compliance.[12] Such management systems are necessary to avoid, at the global level, the classic tragedy of the commons, in which common resources become overexploited.[13]

There are several key differences in management of resources in the global commons from those of the commons, in general.[14] There are obvious differences in scale of both the resources and the number of users at the local versus the global level. Also, there are differences in the shared culture and expectations of resource users; more localized commons users tend to be more homogeneous and global users more heterogeneous. This contributes to differences in the possibility and time it takes for new learning about resource usage to occur at the different levels. Moreover, global resource pools are less likely to be relatively stable and the dynamics are less easily understood. Many of the global commons are non-renewable on human time scales. Thus, resource degradation is more likely to be the result of unintended consequences that are unforeseen, not immediately observable, or not easily understood. For example, the carbon dioxide emissions that drive climate change continue to do so for at least a millennium after they enter the atmosphere[15] and species extinctions last forever. Importantly, because there are significant differences in the benefits, costs, and interests at the global level, there are significant differences in externalities between more local resource uses and uses of global-level resources.

Several environmental protocols have been established (see List of international environmental agreements) as a type of international law, "an intergovernmental document intended as legally binding with a primary stated purpose of preventing or managing human impacts on natural resources."[16] International environmental protocols came to feature in environmental governance after trans-boundary environmental problems became widely perceived in the 1960s.[17] Following the Stockholm Intergovernmental Conference in 1972, creation of international environmental agreements proliferated.[18] Due to the barriers already discussed, environmental protocols are not a panacea for global commons issues. Often, they are slow to produce the desired effects, tend to the lowest common denominator, and lack monitoring and enforcement. They also take an incremental approach to solutions where sustainable development principles suggest that environmental concerns should be mainstream political issues.

The global ocean

The global or world ocean, as the interconnected system of the Earth's oceanic (or marine) waters that comprise the bulk of the hydrosphere, is a classic global commons. It is divided into a number of principal oceanic areas that are delimited by the continents and various oceanographic features. In turn, oceanic waters are interspersed by many smaller seas, gulfs, and bays. Further, most freshwater bodies ultimately empty into the ocean and are derived through the Earth's water cycle from ocean waters. The Law of the Sea is a body of public international law governing relationships between nations in respect to navigational rights, mineral rights, and jurisdiction over coastal waters. Maritime law, also called Admiralty law, is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans. It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea. However, these bodies of law do little to nothing to protect deep oceans from human threats.

In addition to providing significant means of transportation, a large proportion of all life on Earth exists in its ocean, which contains about 300 times the habitable volume of terrestrial habitats. Specific marine habitats include coral reefs, kelp forests, seagrass meadows, tidepools, muddy, sandy and rocky bottoms, and the open ocean (pelagic) zone, where solid objects are rare and the surface of the water is the only visible boundary. The organisms studied range from microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton to huge cetaceans (whales) 30 meters (98 feet) in length.

At a fundamental level, marine life helps determine the very nature of our planet. Marine life resources provide food (especially food fish), medicines, and raw materials. It is also becoming understood that the well-being of marine organisms and other organisms are linked in very fundamental ways. The human body of knowledge regarding the relationship between life in the sea and important cycles is rapidly growing, with new discoveries being made nearly every day. These cycles include those of matter (such as the carbon cycle) and of air (such as Earth's respiration, and movement of energy through ecosystems including the ocean). Marine organisms contribute significantly to the oxygen cycle, and are involved in the regulation of the Earth's climate.[19] Shorelines are in part shaped and protected by marine life, and some marine organisms even help create new land.[20]

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has identified several areas of need in managing the global ocean: strengthen national capacities for action, especially in developing countries; improve fisheries management; reinforce cooperation in semi-enclosed and regional seas; strengthen controls over ocean disposal of hazardous and nuclear wastes; and advance the Law of the Sea. Specific problems identified as in need of attention include rising sea levels; contamination by hazardours chemicals (including oil spills); microbiological contamination; ocean acidification; harmful algal blooms; and over-fishing and other overexploitation.[21] Further, the Pew Charitable Trusts Environmental Initiative program has identified a need for a worldwide system of very large, highly protected marine reserves where fishing and other extractive activities are prohibited.[22]


The atmosphere is a complex dynamic natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet Earth. A primary concern for management of the global atmosphere is air pollution, the introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals, particulates, or biological materials that cause discomfort, disease, or death to humans, damage other living organisms such as food crops, or damage the natural environment or built environment. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth's ecosystems.

Pollution of breathable air is a central problem in the management of the global commons. Pollutants can be in the form of solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases and may be natural or man-made. Although controversial and limited in scope by methods of enforcement, in several parts of the world the polluter pays principle, which makes the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment, is accepted. It has strong support in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Community (EC) countries. It is also known as extended producer responsibility (EPR). EPR seeks to shift the responsibility dealing with waste from governments (and thus, taxpayers and society at large) to the entities producing it. In effect, it attempts to internalise the cost of waste disposal into the cost of the product, theoretically resulting in producers improving the waste profile of their products, decreasing waste and increasing possibilities for reuse and recycling.

The 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, or CLRTAP, is an early international effort to protect and gradually reduce and prevent air pollution. It is implemented by the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP), directed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, or Montreal Protocol (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer), is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on 16 September 1987, and entered into force on 1 January 1989.

Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface, which has been observed for several decades after the start of systematic measurements in the 1950s. Global dimming is thought to have been caused by an increase in particulates such as sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere due to human action.[23] It has interfered with the hydrological cycle by reducing evaporation and may have reduced rainfall in some areas. Global dimming also creates a cooling effect that may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.

Along with global warming, generalized climate change is an ongoing global commons concern. Although global warming is now a generally accepted scientific observation, the precise causes of global warming are still a matter of research and debate. The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty that sets binding obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and prevent potentially harmful anthropogenic (i.e., human-induced) interference in the climate system.[24] There are 192 parties to the convention, including 191 states and the European Union, but not all have ratified and implemented the protocol.[25]

Polar regions

The eight Arctic nations Canada, Denmark ( Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Norway, the United States (Alaska), Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Russia, are all members of the treaty organization, the Arctic Council, as are organizations representing six indigenous populations. The Council operates on consensus basis, mostly dealing with environmental treaties and not addressing boundary or resource disputes.[26] Currently, the Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. The treaty, entering into force in 1961 and currently having 50 signatory nations, sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation and bans military activity on that continent.[27]

Climate change in the Arctic region is leading to widespread ecosystem restructuring.[28] The distribution of species is changing along with the structure of food webs. Changes in ocean circulation appear responsible for the first exchanges of zooplankton between the North Pacific and North Atlantic regions in perhaps 800,000 years. These changes can allow the transmission of diseases from subarctic animals to Arctic ones, and vice versa, posing an additional threat to species already stressed by habitat loss and other impacts. Where these changes lead is not yet clear, but are likely to have far-reaching impacts on Arctic marine ecosystems.

Climate models tend to reinforce that temperature trends due to global warming will be much smaller in Antarctica than in the Arctic,[29] but ongoing research may show otherwise.[30][31]

Outer space

Management of outer space global commons has been contentious since the successful launch of the Sputnik satellite by the former Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. There is no clear boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space, although there are several standard boundary designations: one that deals with orbital velocity (the Kármán line), one that depends on the velocity of charged particles in space, and some that are determined by human factors such as the height at which human blood begins to boil without a pressurized environment (the Armstrong line).

Space policy regarding a country's civilian space program, as well as its policy on both military use and commercial use of outer space, intersects with science policy, since national space programs often perform or fund research in space science, and also with defense policy, for applications such as spy satellites and anti-satellite weapons. It also encompasses government regulation of third-party activities such as commercial communications satellites and private spaceflight[32] as well as the creation and application of space law and space advocacy organizations that exist to support the cause of space exploration.

The Outer Space Treaty provides a basic framework for international space law. It covers the legal use of outer space by nation states. The treaty states that outer space is free for all nation states to explore and is not subject to claims of national sovereignty. It also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons in outer space. The treaty was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1963 and signed in 1967 by the USSR, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. As of mid-year, 2013 the treaty has been ratified by 102 states and signed by an additional 27 states.

Beginning in 1958, outer space has been the subject of multiple resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly. Of these, more than 50 have concerned the international co-operation in the peaceful uses of outer space and preventing an arms race in space. Four additional space law treaties have been negotiated and drafted by the UN's Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Still, there remain no legal prohibitions against deploying conventional weapons in space and anti-satellite weapons have been successfully tested by the US, USSR and China. The 1979 Moon Treaty turned the jurisdiction of all heavenly bodies (including the orbits around such bodies) over to the international community. However, this treaty has not been ratified by any nation that currently practices manned spaceflight.

In 1976 eight equatorial states (Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Congo, Zaire, Uganda, Kenya, and Indonesia) met in Bogotá, Colombia to make the "Declaration of the First Meeting of Equatorial Countries," also known as "the Bogotá Declaration", a claim to control the segment of the geosynchronous orbital path corresponding to each country. These claims are not internationally accepted.

The International Space Station programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency (ESA), and Canadian Space Agency (CSA). National budget constraints led to the merger of three space station projects into the International Space Station. In 1993 the partially built components for a Soviet/Russian space station Mir-2, the proposed American Freedom, and the proposed European Columbus merged into this multinational programme.[33] The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The ISS is arguably the most expensive single item ever constructed,[34] and may be one of the most significant instances of international cooperation in modern history.

According to the original Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and the RSA, the International Space Station was intended to be a laboratory, observatory and factory in space. It was also planned to provide transportation, maintenance, and act as a staging base for possible future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids. In the 2010 United States National Space Policy, it was given additional roles of serving commercial, diplomatic[35] and educational purposes.[36]


As a global system of computers interconnected by telecommunication technologies consisting of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government resources, it is difficult to argue that the Internet is a global commons. These computing resources are largely privately owned and subject to private property law, although many are government owned and subject to public law. The World Wide Web, as a system of interlinked hypertext documents, either public domain (like Wikipedia itself) or subject to copyright law, is, at best, a mixed good.

The resultant virtual space or cyberspace, however, is often viewed as an electronic global commons that allows for as much or more freedom of expression as any public space. Access to those digital commons and the actual freedom of expression allowed does vary widely by geographical area. Management of the electronic global commons presents as many issues as do other commons. In addition to issues related to inequity in access, issues such as net neutrality, Internet censorship, Internet privacy, and electronic surveillance arise.[37]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ For current definitions of public goods see any mainstream microeconomics textbook, e.g.: Hal R. Varian, Microeconomic Analysis ISBN 0-393-95735-7; Mas-Colell, Whinston & Green, Microeconomic Theory ISBN 0-19-507340-1; or Gravelle & Rees, Microeconomics ISBN 0-582-40487-8.
  3. ^ Ostrom, Elinor (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 40599 8.
  4. ^ Neeson, Jeanette M. (1996). Commoners: Common Right, Enclosure and Social Change in England, 1700–1820. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521567749.
  5. ^ *Callander, Robin Fraser (1987), A pattern of Landownership in Scotland: With Particular Reference to Aberdeenshire, Finzean: Haughend, OCLC 60041593.
  6. ^ DEFRA Database of registered common land in England Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Dauvergne, Peter (ed.) (2012). Handbook of Global Environmental Politics (2nd edition). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 978-1849809405.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ " Chapter 18, The global commons." World Conservation Strategy, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, accessed 22 May 2009.
  9. ^ Raymond, Mark (2012). "The Internet as a Global Commons?" Governing the Internet: Chaos, Control or Consensus? The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).
  10. ^ Baslar, Kemal (1998). The Concept of the Common Heritage of Mankind in International Law. Martinus Nijhoff Pubs. ISBN 978-90-411-0505-9
  11. ^ Brousseau, Eric; et al. (2012). Global Environmental Commons: Analytical and Political Challenges in Building Governance Mechanisms. Cambridge, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199656202.
  12. ^ Shaffer, Gregory (August 2012). "International Law and Global Public Goods in a Legal Pluralist World". European Journal of International Law. 23 (3): 669–693. doi:10.1093/ejil/chs036.
  13. ^ Hardin, G. (1968). "The Tragedy of the Commons". Science. 162 (3859): 1243–1248. Bibcode:1968Sci...162.1243H. doi:10.1126/science.162.3859.1243. PMID 5699198. Also available here [1] and here.
  14. ^ Stern, Paul C. "Design principles for global commons: natural resources and emerging technologies". International Journal of the Commons. 5 (2).
  15. ^ Solomon, S.; et al. (2009). "Irreversible Climate Change Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106 (6): 1704–1709. Bibcode:2009PNAS..106.1704S. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812721106. PMC 2632717. PMID 19179281.
  16. ^ Kanie, Norichike (2007). "Governance with Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements: A healthy or ill-equipped fragmentation?" Global Environmental Governance: Perspectives on the Current Debate, Walter Hoffmann and Lydia Swart (eds.): 67-86. New York: Center for UN Reform Education.
  17. ^ Haas, Keohane and Levy (1993). Institutions for the Earth: Sources of effective international environmental protection. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  18. ^ Zürn, Michael (1998). "The Rise of International Environmental Politics: A Review of Current Research." World Politics, 50(4):617-649.
  19. ^ Foley, Jonathan A., Karl E. Taylor, Steven J. Ghan (1991). "Planktonic dimethylsulfide and cloud albedo: An estimate of the feedback response". Climatic Change. 18 (1): 1–15. Bibcode:1991ClCh...18....1F. doi:10.1007/BF00142502.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Sousa, Wayne P (1986) [1985]. "7, Disturbance and Patch Dynamics on Rocky Intertidal Shores". The Ecology of Natural Disturbance and Patch Dynamics. eds. Steward T. A. Pickett & P. S. White. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-554521-1.
  21. ^ Global environment outlook: environment for development (GEO4) (PDF). World Commission on Environment and Development, The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 2007. ISBN 978-9280728361.
  22. ^ "Global Ocean Legacy". Environmental Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  23. ^ Keneth L. Denman; Guy Brasseur; et al. (2007). "Couplings between changes in Climate System and the Biogeochemistry, 7.5.3" (PDF). IPCC. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
  24. ^ "Article 2". The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Archived from the original on 28 October 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2005. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner
  25. ^ "7.c Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol". United Nations. Archived from the original on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  26. ^ "Chronological lists of ratifications of, accessions and successions to the Convention and the related Agreements". United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. April 22, 2009. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2009.
  27. ^ "Information about the Antarctic Treaty and how Antarctica is governed". Polar Conservation Organisation. December 28, 2005. Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  28. ^ Wassmann, P.; et al. (2011). "Footprints of climate change in the Arctic marine ecosystem". Global Change Biology. 17 (2): 1235–1249. Bibcode:2011GCBio..17.1235W. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02311.x.
  29. ^ John Theodore, Houghton, ed. (2001). "Figure 9.8: Multi-model annual mean zonal temperature change (top), zonal mean temperature change range (middle) and the zonal mean change divided by the multi-model standard deviation of the mean change (bottom) for the CMIP2 simulations". Climate change 2001: the scientific basis: contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80767-8. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16.
  30. ^ Orsi, Anais, Bruce D. Cornuelle, and J. Severinghaus (2012). "Little Ice Age cold interval in West Antarctica: Evidence from borehole temperature at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide". Geophysical Research Letters. 39 (9): L09710. Bibcode:2012GeoRL..39.9710O. doi:10.1029/2012GL051260. Retrieved 2012-08-08.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  31. ^ Steig, Eric J.; Anais J. Orsi (2013). "Climate science: The heat is on in Antarctica". Nature Geoscience. 6 (2): 87–88. Bibcode:2013NatGe...6...87S. doi:10.1038/ngeo1717.
  32. ^ Goldman, Nathan C. (1992). Space Policy:An Introduction. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. p. vii. ISBN 978-0-8138-1024-9.
  33. ^ John E. Catchpole (17 June 2008). The International Space Station: Building for the Future. Springer-Praxis. ISBN 978-0387781440.
  34. ^ "How Much the International Space Station (ISS) Cost to Build". 14 April 2016.
  35. ^ Payette, Julie (10 December 2012). "Research and Diplomacy 350 Kilometers above the Earth: Lessons from the International Space Station". Science & Diplomacy. 1 (4).
  36. ^ "National Space Policy of the United States of America" (PDF). White House; USA Federal government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  37. ^ Loader, Brian D (2004). The Governance of Cyberspace: Politics, Technology and Global Restructuring. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415147248.

External links

Further reading

  • Goldman, Michael (1998). Privatizing Nature: Political Struggles for the Global Commons. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0813525549.
  • Amstutz, Mark R. (2008). International Ethics: Concepts, Theories, and Cases in Global Politics. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0742556041.
  • Harrison, Kathryn; Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom (2010). Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262514316.
  • Milun, Kathryn (2010). The Political Uncommons: The Cross-cultural Logic of the Global Commons. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0754671398.
  • Jasper, Scott (2012). Conflict and Cooperation in the Global Commons: A Comprehensive Approach for International Security. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 978-1589019232.
AirSea Battle

AirSea Battle is an integrated battle doctrine that formed a key component of the military strategy of the United States. The doctrine became official in February 2010, and was renamed to Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons (JAM-GC) in 2015.

Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition

The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) is a global coalition of environmental non-governmental organizations with more than 150 members in 40 countries worldwide. ASOC has worked since 1978 to ensure that the Antarctic Continent, its surrounding islands and the great Southern Ocean survive as the world's last unspoiled wilderness, a global commons for the heritage of future generations. ASOC is supported entirely through donations from individual supporters around the world, dues from its members and grants from foundations.

The Secretariat of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), which includes 150 organizations in 40 countries, is based in Washington, D.C. The ASOC Council includes member groups that have paid dues or provided significant in-kind services to the ASOC campaign team.

Antonio Carpio

Antonio Tirol Carpio (born October 26, 1949) is an incumbent Senior Associate Justice and, for four instances, acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He was sworn in as member of the High Court by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on October 26, 2001.

Aubrey Meyer

Aubrey Meyer (born 1947) is an author, violinist, composer and climate campaigner.

A former member of the UK Green Party, he co-founded the Global Commons Institute in 1990.

Chapter XIII of the United Nations Charter

Chapter XIII of the United Nations Charter deals with the UN Trusteeship Council. It guarantees each of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council a seat on the council (albeit without veto) as well as those administering trust countries, and as many other members elected by the UN General Assembly as may be necessary to have an equal number of trust-administering and non-trust-administering countries on the Trusteeship Council. The Trusteeship Council is required to make an annual report to the UNGA on each trust territory. With all territories having reached independence, the Trusteeship Council is basically dormant today. There have been proposals to transform it into a trusteeship council of the global commons (i.e. the environment), although Kofi Annan recommended abolishing it altogether in his report, In Larger Freedom.

Common-pool resource

In economics, a common-pool resource (CPR) is a type of good consisting of a natural or human-made resource system (e.g. an irrigation system or fishing grounds), whose size or characteristics makes it costly, but not impossible, to exclude potential beneficiaries from obtaining benefits from its use. Unlike pure public goods, common pool resources face problems of congestion or overuse, because they are subtractable. A common-pool resource typically consists of a core resource (e.g. water or fish), which defines the stock variable, while providing a limited quantity of extractable fringe units, which defines the flow variable. While the core resource is to be protected or nurtured in order to allow for its continuous exploitation, the fringe units can be harvested or consumed.


The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism.

Commons can be also defined as a social practice of governing a resource not by state or market but by a community of users that self-governs the resource through institutions that it creates .

Contraction and Convergence

Contraction and Convergence (C&C) is a proposed global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Conceived by the Global Commons Institute [GCI] in the early 1990s, the Contraction and Convergence strategy consists of reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases to a safe level (contraction), resulting from every country bringing its emissions per capita to a level which is equal for all countries (convergence). It is intended to form the basis of an international agreement which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions to avoid dangerous climate change, carbon dioxide being the gas that is primarily responsible for changes in the greenhouse effect on Earth. It is expressed as a simple mathematical formula. This formula can be used as a way for the world to stabilize carbon levels at any level. Advocates of Contraction and Convergence stress that negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] are governed sequentially by the 'objective' of the UNFCCC [safe and stable GHG concentration in the global atmosphere] followed by its organising principles ['precaution' and 'equity']. C&C is widely cited and supported.The C&C calculus is now embedded in Domain Two of GCI's Carbon Budget Accounting Tool

DICE model

The Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model, referred to as the DICE model or Dice model, is a computer-based integrated assessment model developed by 2018 Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus that “integrates in an end-to-end fashion the economics, carbon cycle, climate science, and impacts in a highly aggregated model that allows a weighing of the costs and benefits of taking steps to slow greenhouse warming." Nordhaus also developed the RICE model (Regional Integrated Climate-Economy model), a variant of the DICE model that was updated and developed alongside the DICE model. Researchers who collaborated with Nordhaus to develop the model include David Popp, Zili Yang, and Joseph Boyer.The DICE model is one of the three main integrated assessment models used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and it provides estimates intermediate between the other two models.

Global Commons Institute

The Global Commons Institute was founded in the United Kingdom in 1990 by Aubrey Meyer and others to campaign for a fair way to tackle climate change.It has in particular promoted the model of Contraction and Convergence of CO2 emissions as a means to tackle climate change. Many of the founders and signatories to the first statement in favour of contraction and convergence were members of the Green Party.

Global public good

In traditional usage, a global public good is a public good available on a more-or-less worldwide basis. There are many challenges to the traditional definition, which have far-reaching implications in the age of globalization.


Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. As a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, globalization is considered by some as a form of capitalist expansion which entails the integration of local and national economies into a global, unregulated market economy. Globalization has grown due to advances in transportation and communication technology. With the increased global interactions comes the growth of international trade, ideas, and culture. Globalization is primarily an economic process of interaction and integration that's associated with social and cultural aspects. However, conflicts and diplomacy are also large parts of the history of globalization, and modern globalization.

Economically, globalization involves goods, services, the economic resources of capital, technology, and data. Also, the expansions of global markets liberalize the economic

activities of the exchange of goods and funds. Removal of Cross-Border Trades barriers has made formation of

Global Markets more feasible. The steam locomotive, steamship, jet engine, and container ships are some of the advances in the means of transport while the rise of the telegraph and its modern offspring, the Internet and mobile phones show development in telecommunications infrastructure. All of these improvements have been major factors in globalization and have generated further interdependence of economic and cultural activities around the globe.Though many scholars place the origins of globalization in modern times, others trace its history long before the European Age of Discovery and voyages to the New World, some even to the third millennium BC. Large-scale globalization began in the 1820s. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the connectivity of the world's economies and cultures grew very quickly. The term globalization is recent, only establishing its current meaning in the 1970s.In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge. Further, environmental challenges such as global warming, cross-boundary water, air pollution, and over-fishing of the ocean are linked with globalization. Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment. Academic literature commonly subdivides globalization into three major areas: economic globalization, cultural globalization, and political globalization.

Good Country Index

The Good Country Index measures how much each of the 163 countries on the list contribute to the planet, and to the human race, through their policies and behaviors.

Hun School of Princeton

The Hun School of Princeton is a private, coeducational, secondary boarding school located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school serves students from sixth through twelfth grades. Currently, the headmaster is Jonathan Brougham. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1963. The acceptance rate for the school has been reported as 35%.

International law

International law is the set of rules generally regarded and accepted in relations between nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations. International law differs from state-based legal systems in that it is primarily applicable to countries rather than to individual citizens. National law may become international law when treaties permit national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Court. Treaties such as the Geneva Conventions may require national law to conform to respective parts.

International law is consent-based governance. This means that a state member may choose to not abide by international law, and even to break its treaty. This is an issue of state sovereignty. International laws are consent-based. Violations of customary international law and peremptory norms (jus cogens) can lead to wars.

John Sauven

John Sauven, (born in Ealing, west London, on 6 September 1954) is a trained economist and environmentalist and executive director of Greenpeace UK since 2008. Before that he was the director responsible for Greenpeace communications and specialised on solutions and working with business. Sauven started working in a temporary position for Greenpeace in 1991 while waiting for a place at teacher training college. As director, Sauven has helped to shape Greenpeace UK's commitment to defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing environmentally responsible solutions.

Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change

The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) conducts research and fosters dialogue about how the global commons, such as the atmosphere and the oceans, might be used and shared by many yet nevertheless be protected. A main theme is the compatibility of economic growth with sustainable development and climate protection.

Ottmar Edenhofer

Ottmar Georg Edenhofer (born in 8 July 1961 in Gangkofen, Lower Bavaria, Germany) is one of the world's leading experts on climate change policy, environmental and energy policy, and energy economics. Edenhofer currently holds the professorship of the Economics of Climate Change at the Technical University of Berlin. He is designated director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). From 2008 to 2015 he served as one of the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III "Mitigation of Climate Change".

Among other functions, he is a member of the OECD Advisory Council “Growth, Investment and the Low-Carbon Transition”, a member of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP), and a member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). In July 2018, Professor Edenhofer was awarded the Romano-Guardini-Prize by the Katholische Akademie in Bayern.

United Nations Trusteeship Council

The United Nations Trusteeship Council (French: Conseil de tutelle des Nations unies) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security. The trust territories—most of them former mandates of the League of Nations or territories taken from nations defeated at the end of World War II—have all now attained self-government or independence, either as separate nations or by joining neighbouring independent countries. The last was Palau, formerly part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which became a member state of the United Nations in December 1994.

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