Carbon offsetting: Sustaining consumption?

Heather Lovell, Harriet Bulkeley, Diana Liverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we examine how theories of sustainable and ethical consumption help us to understand a new, rapidly expanding type of consumer product designed to mitigate climate change: carbon offsets. The voluntary carbon offset market grew by 200% between 2005 and 2006, and there are now over 150 retailers of voluntary carbon offsets worldwide. Our analysis concentrates on the production and consumption of carbon offsets, drawing on ideas from governmentality and political ecology about how narratives and technologies are used to create particular types of consumer subjectivities and shape consumer choice. We critically examine three narratives that offset producers are using to position carbon offsets and examine how these narratives are shaping circuits of carbon offset production and consumption. We assess the implications for the future governance of voluntary carbon offset markets and for the study of alternative consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2357-2379
Number of pages23
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Volume41
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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carbon
narrative
governmentality
market
environmental policy
subjectivity
producer
climate change
governance
consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Carbon offsetting : Sustaining consumption? / Lovell, Heather; Bulkeley, Harriet; Liverman, Diana.

In: Environment and Planning A, Vol. 41, No. 10, 2009, p. 2357-2379.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lovell, Heather ; Bulkeley, Harriet ; Liverman, Diana. / Carbon offsetting : Sustaining consumption?. In: Environment and Planning A. 2009 ; Vol. 41, No. 10. pp. 2357-2379.
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