Publication Type:Conference Paper
Source:6th International Conference in Interpretive Policy Analysis: Discursive Spaces. Politics, Practices and Power, Cardiff (2011)
Keywords:Actor-Network Theory, Carbon Market, Clean Development Mechanism, Globalization in Practice, Outsourcing of Emissions
The emergent global exchange of 'greenhouse gas emissions reduction' ('carbon credits' in common parlance) is comprised of multiple sites of environmental market spaces. The generation and exchange of carbon credits rhetorically involve multiple discourses – of sustainability, development, environmental justice, intergenerational responsibility and the like – at the same time. The regime engages in different strategies of translation to make these fungible, which in turn make the exchange possible. This paper is on the making of carbon credits in the developing countries that make the outsourcing of emissions possible as part of the Kyoto mechanism. Based on an ethnographic study conducted in a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in India, the paper explore the processes of generating carbon credits. In the biomass renewable energy power project in South India, emissions reduction as a physical act is not something that is done within the physical boundaries of the plant. Instead it is an organizational achievement made through a set of heterogeneous material interrelations. The paper deals with the translation processes that take place in the network of this offset project to throw light on the situated political process of generating carbon credits that are consumed worldwide. Drawing insights from the anthropology of science and technology, particularly Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) it explores the materiality of exchange and the multivalent translations in everyday practices of the current climate change organizational apparatus. Built around the material 'carbon' the paper dwells on the discussions of 'global' and 'local', networks of heterogeneous materials (including humans) and technologies of politics. The paper argues that globalization in practice is an ongoing accomplishment often pursued through heterogeneous networks of mostly self-contained activities.