Creating Demand and Supply: How Private Greenhouse Gas Accounting Standards Averted Carbon Taxes

Another issue I will examine are the creation and adoption of carbon-accounting and offset standards by firms in high-carbon industries. In the early 1990s, the predominant policy proposal to avert climate change was a carbon-tax. As cooperation among governments at the UNFCCC appeared increasingly likely to yield a climate change agreement, firms in high-carbon-intensity industries changed their strategies from complete opposition to attempting to change the predominant policy discourse towards less costly solutions such as carbon offset markets (Meckling, 2011). Simultaneously, many firms in high-carbon industries (e.g. BP and Monsanto) were instrumental in the creation of greenhouse gas accounting and offset standards necessary for the implementation of carbon-markets (Bulkeley & Newell, 2015; J. F. Green, 2013). I plan to investigate the hypothesis that the creation and design of these private standards were instrumental to the political strategy of firms in high carbon-intensity industries to reduce the regulatory costs of government carbon mitigation policies.