Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Global Warming as a Tragedy of the Commons

A classroom/laboratory activity to understand tragedy of the commons through case studies and discuss global warming as a tragedy of the commons.

Students will examine past environmental problems to understand the concept of the tragedy of the commons. Then, they will discuss “Earth’s atmosphere” as a commons and “global warming” as a tragedy, and propose economic solutions to solve this tragedy-of-the-commons problem.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Describe the concept of tragedy of the commons.
  2. Discuss global warming (caused by climate change) as a tragedy-of-the-commons problem.
  3. Propose two fiscal policies that could be solutions to the global warming problem.

About the Tool

Tool Name Introducing the economic concept of ‘tragedy of the commons’ using global warming
Discipline Economics
Topic(s) in Discipline Tragedy of the Commons
Climate Topic Climate Change and Economics
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location  Global
Language English
Developed by Laura Triplett, Gustavus Adolphus College
Hosted at InTeGrate at Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College
Access Online/Offline
Computer Skills Basic


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