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Is Carbon Disclosure Effective Climate Governance? Exploring the Role of Transparency in Global Environmental Governance

Philipp Pattberg

'The first step towards managing carbon emissions is to measure them because in business what gets measured gets managed'. This statement by Lord Adair Turner,Head of the UK Financial Services Authority, can be seen as the present-day mantra of much of the environmental community. If only we had full and transparentinformation about production processes and their externalities, consumers, investors, and eventually legislators would make the appropriate choices and subsequentlygreen economic sectors and production-chains. This contribution analyzes this claim with regards to global climate governance. Can disclosure-based governancemechanisms provide real effects on carbon emissions? And what are their broader implications? To answer these questions, I will first place the phenomenon andpractice of carbon disclosure in the wider discussions about sustainability reporting, while a second section will analyze the concrete implications of two empirical cases,the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative (GHG Protocol).



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