Is it too late for “collective action”?

People may understand that they should act in a certain way for the greater good, but as individuals, they are loathe to turn off their air conditioning or stop flying places for vacations — knowing that others will not be joining them. This is why government is the most frequent solution to “collective action problems”.

The meteorologist Edward Lorenz discovered that a simple model of heat convection possesses intrinsic unpredictability, a circumstance he called the “butterfly effect,” suggesting that the mere flapping of a butterfly’s wing can change the…