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The Business of Transnational Climate Governance: Legitimate, Accountable, and Transparent?

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In recent years, the number of transnational climate change governance arrangements has increased. Transnational corporations in partnership with governments, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental actors have established a variety of schemes that aim to govern the global climate arena. This article argues that while the effectiveness of transnational climate governance arrangements in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is hard to measure, the question of the legitimacy of these arrangements should receive greater attention. To assess the legitimacy of transnational climate governance arrangements, we analyse (1) their inclusiveness and openness, (2) their accountability and transparency mechanisms, and (3) their discursiveness. We address these questions with regard to three transnational climate governance arrangements that have gained relevance in climate governance over the last years: the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, the Carbon Disclosure Project, and the Chicago Climate Exchange. We conclude that even though at present most transnational schemes lack either proper legitimacy, accountability, or transparency, such schemes have placed a number of responsibilities on corporations, which in the long run could lead to behavioural change and contribute to successful global climate change governance.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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