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Keywords:

  • carbon markets;
  • climate change;
  • derivatives;
  • financial crisis;
  • financial regulation

Abstract

The 2008 financial crisis has had an important, but neglected, impact on carbon market governance in the United States. It acted as a catalyst for the emergence of a domestic coalition that drew upon the crisis experience to demand stronger regulation over carbon markets. The influence of this coalition was seen first in the changing content of draft climate change bills between 2008 and 2010. But the coalition's more lasting legacy was its role in shaping the content of, and supporting, the passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd–Frank bill) in July 2010. Although that bill was aimed primarily at bolstering financial stability, its derivatives provisions strengthened carbon market regulation in significant ways. This policy episode demonstrates new patterns of coalition building in carbon market politics as well as the growing links between climate governance and financial regulatory politics. At the same time, the significance of these developments should not be overstated because of various limitations in the content and implementation of the Dodd–Frank bill, as well as the waning support for carbon markets more generally within the US since the bill's passage.