Accounting for carbon emission trading: an Australian perspective

Mookdee, T 2013, Accounting for carbon emission trading: an Australian perspective, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Accounting, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Accounting for carbon emission trading: an Australian perspective
Author(s) Mookdee, T
Year 2013
Abstract The emergence of market-based mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions presents a challenge for accountants who are now required to reflect the new economic given to carbon credits and related assets in the company accounts. Given the absence of formal accounting guidelines, carbon market participants (liable entities and carbon credit providers) around the world are able to select accounting practices and reporting methods based on individual judgment.

The main aim of this thesis is to explore current accounting practices (asset classification, sequent measurement and impairment testing) of Australian carbon credit providers. In addition to exploring the underlying reasons for specific accounting practices, this study also aims to uncover emerging normative views drawing on expert opinions. The study was conducted using case-study methodology and in-depth interviews, supported by archival data and secondary data. The study used institutional theory to interpret research interviews. In general, it was found that disclosures of related accounting information are incomparable due to the lack of formal benchmark guidelines. While the research results show accounting practices for carbon credits and related assets are in accordance with existing general accounting standards and conceptual frameworks, the preferred asset classification of carbon credits varies among the case site participants, according to specific market requirements and economic uncertainty. Applicable values and valuation methods differ from case site to case site due to the nature of each company’s business, internal operations and economic factors. Impairment testing conducted by each organisation requires reference price indices from various sources, but basically they are determined by the nature of assets and professionals. Revenue and expense recognition greatly relies on accounting estimation made by in-house, on-hand and external forestry professionals from government agencies and private bodies. When trying to elicit an emerging normative viewpoint, the expert views indicate asset classification, valuation, impairment; revenue and expense recognition should be prepared conservatively, based on a true and fair view.

In conclusion, accounting policy makers and professional accountants in Australia need to address these issues to improve the quality of the accounting information in this area. Further research should focus on the implications and other developments of the carbon credit accounting practices.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Accounting
Keyword(s) Carbon Emission Trading
Emission Trading
Carbon Credits
Asset Classification
Subsequent Measurement
Impairment Testing
Financial Accounting
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Created: Wed, 11 Dec 2013, 14:56:50 EST by Brett Fenton
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