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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Group Project Investigates Politics of Carbon Markets

Posted: May 12, 2008

The group had three goals:

  • To explain the complexities of the politics of carbon markets in terms of a knowledge city
  • To address the challenges facing the implementation of a compliance carbon market in the US
  • To present our findings in an interesting, fun, and unique way

To achieve their goals, the group employed several analytical tools, including identifying perturbations, contexts, stages in the policy process, resources, rules, inducements, and function systems. It was crucial to understand carbon markets, their revenue potential, and their shortcomings from an interdisciplinary lens.

Based on their analysis, the group concluded that carbon markets, as a win-win solution, are profitable and effectively mitigate global warming. Carbon markets result in economically viable and environmentally-friendly practices that benefit both the CEO and the tree hugger (who oftentimes disagree). Furthermore, revenue generated from carbon markets can be used for publicly-oriented projects, such as conservation projects, parks, social programs, etc.

In terms of a knowledge city, carbon markets are the result of the dynamic interplay between various function systems. Scientific research and new technologies developed at universities are used by companies to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The “Going Green” movement characterizes today’s green city and creates a demand for carbon offsets in the carbon market. Austin, for example, is a knowledge city with remarkable potential for entrance into the carbon market by emphasizing sustainable practices and green technologies developed by the economic and science/technology function systems.

The group accomplished their goals and organized their ideas using a power point presentation and other multimedia. They also created a game to explain the cap and trade system in carbon markets and pursued experts who could comment on the field, such as State Representative Juan M. Garcia III.

Carbon markets are true sustainable solutions – they are economically feasible, environmentally friendly, and socially just.

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