Chapter 4, "The Private Governance Option"

This chapter explains why corporations and households have motivations to reduce carbon emissions and why advocacy groups have the ability to harness these motivations.

The chapter focuses on the corporate and household sectors, but it notes that many other private organizations can contribute to climate mitigation. The potential for a private climate governance strategy to yield prompt, major reductions at low cost does not rest on unrealistic assumptions about individual or corporate altruism, but it does require rigorous analysis of the opportunities for low-cost reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, the motivations for carbon-emitting behavior, and the ability of private institutions to respond.

The model presented in the chapter suggests that efficiency opportunities and widespread public support for climate mitigation are the principal drivers for corporate, household, and other emissions reductions. The chapter uses a three-part analytical framework to avoid the fuzzy thinking that can easily creep into private carbon mitigation efforts: evaluating actions based on their technical potential (the emissions reductions that would arise if all possible behavior change occurred), behavioral plasticity (the extent of the behavior change that can reasonably be expected from an intervention), and initiative feasibility (the extent to which initiatives that target these actions can be adopted and implemented).