Accumulation by decarbonization and the governance of carbon offsets

Adam G. Bumpus, Diana M. Liverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

490 Scopus citations


This article examines the governance of international carbon offsets, analyzing the political economy of the origins and governance of offsets. We examine how the governance structures of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism and unregulated voluntary carbon offsets differ in regulation and in complexity of the chain that links consumers and reducers of carbon, with specific consequences for carbon reductions, development, and the ability to provide "accumulation by decarbonization." We show how carbon offsets represent capital-accumulation strategies that devolve governance over the atmosphere to supranational and nonstate actors and to the market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-155
Number of pages29
JournalEconomic geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Carbon offsets
  • Clean Development Mechanism
  • Climate change
  • Market environmentalism
  • Neoliberalism
  • Political economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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