Carbon Valuation: Alternatives, Alternations and Lateral Measures?
AbstractThis article refers to carbon valuation as the practice of ascribing value to, and assessing the value of, actions and objects in terms of carbon emissions. Due to the pervasiveness of carbon emissions in the actions and objects of everyday lives of human beings, the making of carbon offsets and credits offers almost unlimited repertoires of alternatives to be included in contemporary carbon valuation schemes. Consequently, the article unpacks how discussions of carbon valuation are interpreted through different registers of alternatives - as the commensuration and substitution of variants on the one hand, and the confrontational comparison of radical difference on the other. Through the reading of a wide selection of the social science literature on carbon markets and trading, the article argues that the value of carbon emissions itself depends on the construction of alternative, hypothetical scenarios, and that emissions have become both a moral and a virtual measure pitting diverse forms of actualised actions or objects against each other or against corresponding nonactions and non-objects as alternatives.
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