Emissions Trading, New Enclosures and Eco-Social Contestation



Abstract:  The central operating strategy within the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and most of the advanced capitalist world's environmental policy is to address climate change through the market mechanism known as emissions trading. Based upon government issuance and private trading of emissions reductions credits and offsets, this approach quickly rose to $135 billion in annual trading. But in the wake of the collapse of climate negotiations in Copenhagen and a world financial crisis which undermined market faith in derivative investments, carbon trading has an uncertain future. Linkages between deep-rooted financial market and emissions market problems are revealing in spatio-temporal terms, especially in the context of a deeper overaccumulation crisis and investors’ desperate need for new speculative outlets. It is in the nexus of the spatial and temporal aspects of carbon financing amidst resistance to “new enclosures” by adversely affected peoples, that broader-based lessons for global/local environmental politics and climate policy can be learned.