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This session will explore the carbon economy through the implementation and coordination of greenhouse gas offset markets. What economy and what markets are being structured around carbon, and through what instruments? What role do expertise and criticism play in the development and evolution of these markets?
Stéphanie Barral (INRAE, LISIS) – Low carbon label, a level playing field?
Since the mid-2010s, the French Ministry of Ecology has been coordinating a voluntary greenhouse gas emissions offsetting device, the Low Carbon Label. Its aims are, on the one hand, to encourage participation by a wide range of economic actors who are willing to reduce their carbon footprint or, on the other hand, to make virtuous changes in their production systems in order to benefit from the sale of carbon credits. The deployment of the Low Carbon Label is based on the construction of a strict equivalence system between offset and avoided emissions, according to an accounting logic common in this type of instrument. In this presentation, I will focus on the instrumentation of this equivalence and its implications in terms of coordination costs, in order to discuss the economy of means at work to support environmental actions that are ultimately very limited.
Alice Valiergue (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, CSO) – With and Against Criticism: An Analysis of the Development of the Carbon Offset Market from 2000 to Present
This presentation will focus on the findings of a sociological survey on the carbon offset market, and more specifically on companies that have no obligation to subscribe to these services but buy carbon credits from private operators, NGOs or companies to offset their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The following question was the starting point of the research: if this market is controversial, how can the growth of this market be explained and how can companies who seek to protect their reputation continue to buy carbon credits? Based on the survey findings, the presentation will address the role played by criticism in the development of this market.
Stéphanie Barral (INRAE, LISIS) is a sociologist and an INRAE researcher [INRAE is a national research institute for agriculture, food and nutrition, and the environment]. Her work focuses on this question: can environmental problems be resolved with economic instruments? Through the cases of ecological compensation and carbon offsetting, she develops a sociology of environmental markets from three standpoints: 1) the articulation between environmental sciences, public regulations and the market; 2) the selection effects that result from their implementation; 3) the transformation of the agricultural sector through the integration of farms into these new markets.
Alice Valiergue (EHESP, CSO) is a post-doctoral fellow at the Health Chair of Sciences Po. Her doctoral dissertation, completed at the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations, focused on the carbon offset market. She has since worked on the sociology of drugs in French Polynesia and her current post-doctoral research is on an experimentation of a new mode of healthcare reimbursement. She is the author of the book Compensation carbone. La fabrique d’un marché contesté (Sorbonne Université Presses).
The session will also be streamed by videoconference. The link will be sent upon registration just before the seminar.
The seminar is open to all. Please register here to participate in this session.