The Future of Carbon Emissions

How did you react when U.S. President Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord? Did it grab your attention?

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping declared his plan to develop the world’s largest market for carbon emissions? Did you take note of it too?

Many members of our Public Interest Section of the American Accounting Association perceived these developments as landmark events in the evolution of the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and Integrated Reporting. But how can our colleagues become more informed about the issue of carbon emissions?

They can attend the AAA’s Annual meeting, of course. Our Section will offer a series of concurrent session presentations regarding this issue.

For instance, Stephanie Liu of the Henley Business School of the University of Reading in England will present a study of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100. Stephanie and her co-authors identified a number of intriguing relationships among carbon emissions, carbon disclosures, and financial performance.

Meanwhile, Chengzhang Wu of Rutgers Business School will present a study of A-Share Chinese listed companies. He and his co-author Junqin Sun from Xi’an Jiatong University in China found that governmental industrial policy and evaluation pressure yielded a positive impact on reduction performance.

In other words, Stephanie and Chengzhang are studying the effectiveness of different carbon initiatives from distant global regions with diverging approaches to achieving emission reductions. Whereas Stephanie is focusing on European market-based disclosure strategies, Chengzhang is addressing Chinese government-based policy strategies.

Will either approach succeed? And if both do so, will one eventually triumph over the other? You can bet that our colleagues in the audience will continue to debate these questions long after the conclusion of the Meeting.

In order to ensure that their opinions are well-informed, though, they’ll need to attend these presentations at the AAA Annual Meeting in San Diego CA. It might indeed be the ideal place on Earth this summer for accounting scholars from every region of the planet to come together and share their findings about carbon emissions.

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