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Between Desire and Routine: Assembling Environment and Finance in Carbon Markets

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This article contributes to emerging research on the social construction of carbon markets by focusing on the mobilisation of desire amongst carbon market actors, and on the routinisation of financial practices within such markets. We examine specifically the markets that have emerged around the Clean Development Mechanism. First, we look at the stories market actors tell each other in advertising and at Carbon Expo. Second, we look at the routinisation of carbon finance through the borrowing of ideas and tools from traditional financial markets. We suggest that the former animates the markets while the latter enables the markets to become “normalised” for financiers. We also suggest that the two aspects however also work in tension with each other, and that the character of this tension is one way of understanding the distinctiveness of carbon markets.

Keywords: Clean Development Mechanism; carbon markets; cultural political economy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada; ,, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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