This event is co-hosted with the LSE Department of Geography and Environment.

The ocean covers seventy percent of the Earth’s surface and is governed by a combination of property rights, established in customary law, and cooperative agreements, established under treaty law. Drawing from history, international law, and game theory, Scott Barrett will explain what these institutions have and have not been able to achieve, and why.

He will then use this framework to determine whether radical proposals for change, from nationalizing the oceans to banning fishing on the high seas, would work any better. Meanwhile, as we try to improve these traditional forms of governance, the old order is being disrupted by climate change. Ocean chemistry is changing. Fish stocks are migrating. New shipping routes are opening. Ice sheets are being put at risk by ocean warming and changes in ocean currents. Use of the ocean to limit climate change poses yet more risks. Deep sea mining of minerals, manipulation of ocean chemistry, and direct injection of CO2 beneath ocean sediments could help to limit climate change—and, in the bargain, harm marine life. Can our existing institutions cope with these challenges?

Scott Barrett is Lenfest Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics; Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Earth Institute, Columbia University. He is the Centennial (Visiting) Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a leading scholar on transnational and global challenges, ranging from climate change to disease eradication.

This event will be chaired by Dr Eugenie Dugoua, Assistant Professor in Environmental Economics at the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE.

How to attend

This public event is free and open to all. This event will be a hybrid event, with an in-person audience and an online audience.

For the in-person event: No ticket or pre-registration is required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.

For the online event please register in advance here

For any queries email

If you can’t attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE’s YouTube channel.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEOceanGovernance

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