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Carbon Coalitions: Business, Climate Politics, and the Rise of Emissions Trading: Book Review

Jonas Meckling, PhD., writes the first critical analysis demonstrating how various types of not-for-profit, governmental and for-profit coalitions over
the past couple of decades have led to the development of the global carbon market, valued in 2010 at US$ 142 billion. Through clear examples
explaining the impact of early chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and leaded gasoline USA phase out mechanisms in the 1970s and 1980s on current market based
mechanisms, the author shows how various governmental, business and environmental not-for-profit coalitions took these early successes and crafted
current carbon market solutions to mitigate climate disruption.

By presenting an exhaustive and accessible history of the three main climate change mitigation coalitions functioning roughly since 1990:

The author provides relevant lessons learned from this multi decadal experience.

The key empirical findings from 1990 to 2009 regarding corporate, governmental, and NGO policy entrepreneurs generally are put into the following

What I find most interesting about Dr. Jonas Meckling’s analysis is what he comments indirectly on not being included in the history of these
carbon coalitions and their approach using cause and effect responses and compromise based solutions. Because the above
coalitions follow a pattern of functioning based on cause-and-effect and compromise, what is not included is the simple fact that if the 21 st Century is defined as a century of natural capital, regardless of whether legislation is developed or not developed based on
recommendations from the pro-command-and-control NGO coalitions, the pro-trading NGO-business coalitions, and the antiregulatory business coalitions,
natural capital will need to be accounted for financially under any mechanism – whether carbon tax, cap-and-trade, combined carbon tax and
cap-and-trade, and / or other another mechanism.

This means that while we have spent 20 years developing global carbon coalitions under various proposals that sometimes are diametrically opposed to
how any other proposal might function, the financial accounting inputs to any of these proposals are the same. This means that if we are going to
develop systematic approaches to climate change, financial accounting valuation of natural capital and carbon impacts need to be developed within a
simple format and applied to governments, businesses, and not-for-profits globally regardless of which climate change mitigation mechanisms is applied.

In summary, I highly recommend Jonas Meckling’s thought provoking, illustrative and accessible book on carbon coalitions while I hope that 20 years
hence in 2031, we are not still struggling with coalitions and instead looking at fundamental financial accounting valuation issues such that whichever
coalitions exists under which ever mechanisms are used, natural capital will be properly valued within a systematic, transparent and simple solution.

How to order:

Carbon Coalitions: Business, Climate Politics, and the Rise of Emissions Trading: Book Review

Paperback: 240 Pages, $22.00

Publisher: The MIT Press, 2011 (978-0-262-51633-4)

Authors: Jonas Meckling, PhD.

Gabriel Thoumi, CFA is a frequent contributor to

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