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Joe Blakey

Research details

Since 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has defined the accounting standard by which governments of all scales count their carbon footprint. While planetary carbon emissions are on the rise, this 'territorial-based' methodology has enabled some western nations to declare that their emissions have stabilised. Conversely, alternative 'consumption-based' methodologies have highlighted the growing embodied emissions in the products that the west consumes. However, consumption-based approaches have seldom been adopted. Responding to the uneven adoption of carbon footprinting methodologies - and the different perspectives of responsibility that underpin them - my research investigates the relation between carbon accounting and the politics surrounding decarbonisation.

Theoretically, I expand critical understandings of accountancy’s social role through an appreciation of the 'political difference', drawing upon the work of Jacques Rancière. To this end, my research is concerned with how accountancy can make some perspectives 'count' while leaving others unheard. This research draws upon an auto-ethnography of accounting, completing a carbon footprint inventory for the City of Manchester using the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) and an aviation emissions inventory. Moreover, in investigating existing spaces of accounting disagreement, I have utilised interviews with community groups, activists, organisations and policy-makers in a UK context.

Research interests

  • carbon accounting
  • smart cities
  • political ecology
  • post-democracy
  • the political

Thesis title

(Post)Democratic carbon accounting: Creating the climate for disagreement.


Previous education

  • MSc Geographical Science (The University of Manchester)
  • BA Human Geography (The University of Manchester)