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Consider a riverside village that has been informed by authorities that it could see a flood in a few days. What would you expect the villagers to do? In any traditional society they would get together and work cooperatively to protect themselves and help those inhabitants who are more vulnerable. There might also be higher level authorities who provide the warning, and identify, when relevant, the perpetrators of actions that created the threat and require them to assist in the management of the flood.
There are four elements in this response that are important —first, the credibility of the warning; second, the sense of emergency shared by the residents of the village; third, the social and political norm of joint responsibility; and fourth, a higher authority capable of enforcing restraint and liability on those most responsible for the risk.
Does the global village have a comparable response mechanism for the threat of climate change? A l
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