Dancing to the Rhythms of the Fossil Fuel Landscape: Landscape Inertia and the Temporal Limits to Market-Based Climate Policy

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Abstract

This article makes a contribution to the critique of market-based mechanisms for climate and energy policy. It explores the environmental effectiveness of market instruments by engaging a broadly conceived “fossil fuel landscape”, or the material, social, and political inertia of fossil energy dependence, as a factor delimiting policy outcomes. The argument is developed through a focus on the idea of economic efficiency as a key ideological construct underlying market-based policy, and draws on examples from two different market instruments, namely the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and the Flemish tradable green certificate scheme. I argue that an understanding of the shortcomings of these, and similar, policies requires acknowledgment of the political and socio-economic power that emanates from the temporal dynamics of fossil fuel capitalism, which are reproduced when economic efficiency becomes the key focus of climate policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
JournalAntipode
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 3

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Geography

Keywords

  • market-based mechanisms
  • EU ETS
  • tradable green certificates
  • fossil fuel landscape
  • landscape inertia

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