THE IMPACT OF CARBON REPORTING SCHEMES AND CREDIBILITY ENHANCEMENT MECHANISMS ON CARBON EMISSIONS GROWTH

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Copyright: Ge, Irene
Abstract
The ratification of the Paris Agreement has led to a rapid transition towards a mandatory reporting landscape for carbon emissions on a global scale. Demand has increased the need for performance and impact disclosures of carbon emissions at both the country and company levels. Extant research literature currently lags the regulatory momentum and development of carbon disclosures in examining the benefits of regulatory reporting schemes, as well as credibility enhancement mechanisms such as carbon assurance. My thesis examines the impact of carbon reporting schemes and credibility enhancement mechanisms, carbon policy risk, and the cost of debt financing on carbon emissions growth. Study One examines the impact of variations of current carbon-related reporting schemes across countries. It uses a panel of 123 countries (1,600 country-year observations) covering the period 1990-2016. Study Two differentiates between home and host countries’ reporting schemes for multinational companies and collects 6,664 observations from 45 countries covering the period 2011- 2017. My results reveal that the strength of carbon reporting schemes and credibility enhancement mechanisms contribute to curbing carbon emissions growth at the country and the company level. The effects of credibility enhancement mechanisms are both robust and enduring. There is also evidence of a trade-off between the strength of reporting schemes and credibility enhancement mechanisms. My results demonstrate that the credibility of reported carbon emissions is a critical first step in working towards climate change mitigation. Study Three employs data sets from the first two studies and measures the impact of carbon policy risk. It finds that carbon policy risk, and the cost of debt financing, have a negative association with carbon emissions growth. This provides evidence of the role of financial institutions in facilitating a client company’s carbon emissions reduction. My thesis results constitute empirical evidence that informs both companies regarding the benefits of undertaking carbon assurance and emissions reduction programs in the face of diverse regulatory reporting schemes, and global and national regulators regarding the role of accounting and credibility enhancement mechanisms in holding countries and companies accountable for carbon emissions growth. Strengthening reporting schemes and emphasizing credibility enhancement mechanisms could aid in slowing down carbon emissions growth.
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Publication Year
2021
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Thesis
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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