Tropical Storm Arthur Threatens North Carolina's Outer Banks

In this video Dr. Robert Stavins, Professor of Business and Government at Harvard University’s Kennedy School succinctly discusses some of the obstinate challenges facing governments – from the local to national level – regulators, corporate entities, scientists, the environmental community and other relevant stakeholders when considering how to deal with climate change.

He discusses the “free rider” principal which incentives national governments to wait for others to take action first and argues that mitigation efforts need to be coordinated at the international level, while adaptation should simultaneously occur at regional and local levels.

“Greenhouse gases mix in the atmosphere and that means it doesn’t matter where they come from. They are going to have the same damage. It doesn’t matter if they come from New York or Beijing. What that means is that any individual jurisdiction – county, state, city – taking action will incur the costs of its actions but the benefits of its actions will be distributed globally. That means that for virtually any jurisdiction, if it acts on its own, the benefits it receives will be smaller than the costs it pays.” – Dr. Robert Stavins in remarks about last November’s Managing the Risk of Catastrophes: Protecting Critical Infrastructure in Urban Areas Conference