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Franklin and Marshall College

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and the Environment

Abstract

This paper explains the System of Environmental and Economic Accounting’s (SEEA) approach to environmental accounting flow systems and how this system is now being utilized in the creation of new Australian standards of accounting. The first part of the paper discusses in depth different accounting systems, primarily physical and hybrid accounting systems, as they relate to the measures set forth by the SEEA. The second part analyzes the differences between the SEEA’s gross accounting system in comparison to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) net accounting system. This includes a type of “pro-con” way of looking at which is more useful and pertinent to the future of environmental accounting systems. After explaining the different positions of the SEEA and the IPCC, there is a discussion of harvesting-types and producing-types of environmental industries and whether or not these industries have ownership of the environmentally produced natural resources and therefore ownership of the carbon sequestered within these carbon sinks. The last section of this paper is where the debate lies. At this point in time, no consensus has been reached about which accounting method is best for providing environmentally sustainable decisions. Similarly, no decision has been made about who actually can claim ownership over specific environmental resources and which parts/ to what extent they may own these resources.

Disciplines

Accounting | Natural Resource Economics

 

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