Research Handbook on Climate Governance
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Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.
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Chapter 32: Carbon accounting

Esther Turnhout, Margaret M. Skutsch and Jessica de Koning


In the global climate debate, science and governance are intimately connected and co-produced. One way in which this is done is through carbon accounting. Practices of carbon accounting are not just technical and will have considerable governance implications as they are used to assess the performance of climate mitigation projects. This chapter outlines a theoretical perspective for analyzing carbon accounting as a technology of global climate governance. We use the example of forest carbon accounting for REDD+ to argue that carbon accounting creates a specific field of visibility that not only represents carbon but also functions as a site of political action. As such, we focus the attention on the productive forms of power involved in carbon accounting and the way these technologies simultaneously highlight and obscure specific forms of knowledge and connect and disconnect actors on multiple scales.

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