Accumulation by Decarbonization and the Governance of Carbon Offsets

Authors

  • Adam G. Bumpus,

    Corresponding author
    1. Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Oxford University, South arks Road, Oxford OX I 3QY, United Kingdom
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  • Diana M. Liverman

    Corresponding author
    1. Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX I 3QY, United Kingdom
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adam.bumpus@ouce.ox.ac.uk

diana.liverman@eci.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

This article examines the governance of international carbon offsets, analyzing the political economy of the origins and governance of offsets. We examine how the governance structures of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism and unregulated voluntary carbon offsets differ in regulation and in complexity of the chain that links consumers and reducers of carbon, with specific consequences for carbon reductions, development, and the ability to provide “accumulation by decarbonization.” We show how carbon offsets represent capital-accumulation strategies that devolve governance over the atmosphere to supranational and nonstate actors and to the market.

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