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2016 Winner of the Australian International Political Economy Network (AIPEN) – Richard Higgott Journal Article Prize

by Adam David Morton on December 12, 2016
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Gareth Bryant’s article ‘“Fixing” the Climate Crisis: Capital, States and Carbon Offsetting in India’ (co-authored with Siddhartha Dabhi and Steffen Böhm), published in Environment and Planning A was voted the winner of the 2016 Australian International Political Economy Network (AIPEN) — Richard Higgott Journal Article Prize. In a year when any of the three shortlisted nominees could rightly stake a claim to the award because of their own very high quality, Bryant’s article delivered an extremely original approach to understanding the political economy of carbon markets and carbon offsetting. The article traces how specific states (such as Japan and the Netherlands) as well as companies (such as Ineos and EDF, owners of plants such as Eggborough Power in Yorkshire, England) displace the costs of carbon instruments such as the United Nations (UN) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to local conditions in the Global South to negatively impact communities and ecosystems there, while securing their own maximisation of profits. Focusing on the socio-ecological and political economy outcomes of an industrial gas CDM project in Gujarat, western India, the article traces commodity networks to assert that states and corporations in the heartlands of the Global North are securing carbon sinks in India at the cost of local ecologies. The result is that the costs of responding to climate crisis are displaced to the Global South without fundamentally questioning the fossil-fuel-dependent economies and the contradictory conditions of production between capital and nature in the Global North. How states and corporations have driven the CDM as a temporary ‘spatial fix’ to the ecological crisis of climate change, to promote new sites of accumulation, is therefore a pivotal and highly innovative contribution made by this research. We congratulate Gareth Bryant and his co-authors on receiving the award of the 2016 AIPEN Richard Higgott Journal Article Prize.

Past Awardees

2016 Gareth Bryant et al., ‘“Fixing” the Climate Crisis: Capital, States and Carbon Offsetting in India’, Environment and Planning A, 47:10 (2015).

2015 Ainsley Elbra, ‘Interests Need Not be Pursued If They Can be Created: Private Governance in African Gold Mining’, Business and Politics, 16:2 (2014).

Adam David Morton
Adam David Morton is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney.

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