*Infrastructures of climate governance*

Call for papers, Association of American Geographers 2017 Meeting, Boston,
MA, April 5-9, 2017

*Session Organizers:*  Tyler Harlan (UCLA) and Sophie Webber (University of

*Sponsored by: *Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Energy and
Environment Specialty Group, Economic Geography Specialty Group

Market-based mechanisms for climate governance have predominantly failed to
deliver on expectations of large-scale emission reductions, social
benefits, or financial returns.  From the Clean Development Mechanism, the
EU Trading Scheme, to REDD+, carbon markets and offset programs have been
stymied by the over-allocation of emissions permits, falling prices for
carbon credits, problems of additionality and leakage, and swings in
political moods. Carbon offsets, in particular, have been unable to bring
about promised environmental and social outcomes, and have been unrewarding
for credit suppliers and investors. Thus, what has been called the ‘new
carbon economy’ (Boyd, Boykoff, and Newell 2011) has lost some of its
mainstream appeal, and is better seen as lurching and faltering rather than
rapidly expanding as proponents might wish. For geographers, this validates
a large body of critical work on climate governance, which has highlighted
the incompatibility of market-based policies with managing climate and
environmental changes. These studies have found that market mechanisms have
limited ability to constrain emissions, arguing that they can exacerbate
social and economic inequality and reduce resource access for local
communities (e.g. Heynen et al. 2007; Bond 2012; Beymer-Farris and Bassett
2012). Such critiques of the failures of the new carbon economy have now
reached the mainstream, with financial flows migrating to other kinds of
climate investments. Given this, a continued focus on the market mechanisms
of climate governance risks overlooking other, equally important, policy
choices and investment flows.

Following recent studies that demand we ‘follow the money’ (Christophers
2011; Dempsey and Suarez 2016) in environmental and climate politics, this
session seeks to open up and connect scholarship on the ‘real assets’, or
infrastructures, of climate governance. We take climate infrastructure to
mean infrastructure up and down the carbon commodity chain (Bridge 2011) –
from the mitigation investments of energy installations and green
buildings, to adaptation through upgraded utilities, seawalls and levees.
In focusing on the infrastructures of climate governance, we examine how
and why such investments are designed, financed, and constructed, paying
attention to the connected logics of state, regulation, and markets. In
doing so, we aim to build conceptual insights into how these logics
reproduce a dominant mode of climate change governance, as well as produce
landscapes of climate infrastructure with political, social and
environmental effects. Moreover, by focusing on both mitigation and
adaptation, our goal is to highlight the connections and disconnections
between energy, emission reductions, and adaptation, and their associated
policies, investments and infrastructure.

In this session, we invite papers that analyze sites of investment in
climate infrastructure – including how and why investments are made, how
they reconfigure relations between institutions and places, and the
physical spaces they help produce. We especially seek papers that situate
infrastructure investments – in energy, adaptation, or otherwise – in the
context of climate governance more broadly. Potential topics include
attempts to retool market mechanisms and their influence over
infrastructure investments; the diverse financial tools that are used to
fund climate infrastructure, including public-private partnerships and
securities; politics of infrastructure investment and maintenance, and the
politics of naming climate change adaptation and mitigation investments;
and the political and environmental effects of marketization rhetoric, even
where profit-making appears limited.

*Please send paper titles and abstracts (250 words) to Tyler Harlan (*
*trhar...@ucla.edu* <trhar...@ucla.edu>*) and Sophie Webber (*
*srweb...@ucla.edu* <srweb...@ucla.edu>*) by October 14th. We will notify
participants by October 19th.*


Beymer-Farris, B, and TJ Bassett. 2012. “The REDD Menace: Resurgent
Protectionism in Tanzania’s Mangrove Forests.” *Global Environmental Change*
22: 332–41.

Bond, P. 2012. “Emissions Trading, New Enclosures, and Eco-Social
Contestation.” *Antipode* 44 (3): 684–701.

Boyd, E, M Boykoff, and P Newell. 2011. “The ‘New’ Carbon Economy: What’s
New?.” *Antipode* 43 (3): 601–11.

Bridge, G. 2011. “Resource Geographies 1: Making Carbon Economies Old and
New.” *Progress in Human Geography* 35 (6): 820–34.

Christophers, B. 2011. “Follow the Thing: Money.” *Environment and Planning
D: Society and Space* 29: 1068–84.

Dempsey, J, and DC Suarez. 2016. “Arrested Development? The Promises and
Paradoxes of ‘Selling Nature to Save It.’” *Annals of the Association of
American Geographers* 106 (3): 653–71.

Heynen, N, J McCarthy, S Prudham, and P Robbins, eds. 2007. *Neoliberal
Environments: False Promises and Unnatural Consequences*. New York:

Sophie Webber
Department of Geography

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