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Climate change, biodiversity loss, antibiotic resistance, and other global challenges pose major collective action problems: A group benefits from a certain action, but no individual has sufficient incentive to act alone. Formal institutions, e.g., laws and treaties, have helped address issues like ozone depletion, lead pollution, and acid rain. However, formal institutions are not always able to enforce collectively desirable outcomes. In such cases, informal institutions, such as social norms, can be important. If conditions are right, policy can support social norm changes, helping address even global problems. To judge when this is realistic, and what role policy can play, we discuss three crucial questions: Is a tipping point likely to exist, such that vicious cycles of socially damaging behavior can potentially be turned into virtuous ones? Can policy create tipping points where none exist? Can policy push the system past the tipping point?
Research news | 2017-09-24
Why it is high time for a more people-centred paradigm in Earth System science to better study the challenges of the Anthropocene
General news | 2017-08-29
Centre science director Carl Folke awarded the 2017 Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science for his outstanding scientific work
Research news | 2017-08-25
Invasion of the Indo-Pacific lionfish outside Jamaica reveals need to improve collaboration within marine protected areas
Research news | 2017-08-21
Feed resources is the big challenge for expansion of marine aquaculture - not lack of suitable ocean space
Research news | 2017-08-19
Social innovation initiatives must be fit for the challenges of the Anthropocene
Research news | 2017-08-18
Collaborative governance not always fit for solving environmental problems, according to new review article in Science