Scientific article

On Climate Rent

ContributorsFelli, Romain
Published inHistorical materialism, vol. 22, no. 3-4, p. 251-280
Publication date2014

As environmental degradation becomes a growing concern, this article argues that the development of international law on climate change expresses the deep social contradictions between accumulation and reproduction under capitalism. These contradictions are translated into the creation of a form of public property over the right to emit greenhouse gases (and not the ‘privatisation' of the atmosphere). This public property is unequally distributed amongst states in an imperialist manner. The distribution of these rights at the domestic level amounts to the distribution of rights to climate rent. Contrary to popular accounts of the ‘commodification' of nature, I argue that emission rights are not ‘commodities', and emissions trading and carbon markets are not ‘accumulation strategies'. These are merely depoliticised forms in which climate rent is extracted and circulates to preclude political debates about the goals of production.

  • Value theory
  • Imperialism
  • Climate change
  • Climate governance
  • Carbon trading
  • Rent
  • International law
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 148071
Citation (ISO format)
FELLI, Romain. On Climate Rent. In: Historical materialism, 2014, vol. 22, n° 3-4, p. 251–280. doi: 10.1163/1569206X-12341368
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal1465-4466

Technical informations

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