Research Handbook on Climate Governance
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Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.
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Chapter 47: Property and privatization

Ronnie D. Lipschutz


Private property represents a form of governmentality, in that it plays a central role in managing and ensuring civil behavior. Most schemes for control of greenhouse gas emissions are premised on the creation of ‘carbon emission allowances,’ to be distributed to individual governments and made available as private property purchased through carbon markets. This will manage polluting behavior and, it is hoped, lead to reductions in emissions. Individuals’ greenhouse gas emissions are associated with their consumption patterns and activities, about which associated personal, private data are accumulated and mined for all kinds of purposes. Through identification of transactions with associated emissions, individuals’ online and real world activities can be controlled or curtailed. Private data thus become a means of governing individuals in the interest of managing climate change.

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