Afionis, S, Sakai, M, Scott, K, Barrett, J and Gouldson, A (2016) Consumption‐based carbon accounting: does it have a future? WIREs Climate Change, 8 (1). ISSN 1757-7799

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Abstract

Internationally, allocation of responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is currently based on the production‐based (PB) accounting method, which measures emissions generated in the place where goods and services are produced. However, the growth of emissions embodied in trade has raised the question whether we should switch to, or amalgamate PB accounting, with other accounting approaches. Consumption‐based (CB) accounting has so far emerged as the most prominent alternative. This approach accounts for emissions at the point of consumption, attributing all the emissions that occurred in the course of production and distribution to the final consumers of goods and services. This review has a fourfold objective. First, it provides an account of the logic behind attributing responsibility for emissions on the basis of consumption instead of production. Issues of equity and justice, increased emissions coverage, encouragement of cleaner production practices, and political benefits are considered. Second, it discusses the counterarguments, focusing in particular on issues of technical complexity, mitigation effectiveness, and political acceptability. Third, it presents the spectrum of implementation possibilities—ranging from the status quo to more transformative options—and considers the implications for international climate policy that would accrue under various scenarios of adopting CB accounting in practice. Fourth, it looks at how CB accounting may be adjusted to fit with current political realities and it identifies policy mechanisms that could potentially be utilized to directly or indirectly address CB emissions. Such an approach could unlock new opportunities for climate policy innovation and for climate mitigation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Wiley at https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.438 Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2016 14:56
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2018 08:42
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/2687

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