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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 51, January 2014, Pages 202–212
The difficulties of organizing emissions trading in line with the principles of economics have led economic sociologists to interrogate the significance of political compromises and technical conditions to the performance of markets. This article argues that sociological studies of ‘techno-politics’ should be complemented with a geographical perspective concerned with how such market experiments are territorialized in relation to wider socio-technically distributed practices. Focusing on the setup of a regionally concentrated and integrated European market for carbon, it investigates a particular compromise made between climate and energy policies in the post-2012 trading rules for the electricity sector: a nexus created between the risks of energy insecurity, competitive disadvantage, and ‘carbon leakage’. The resistance of EU border states to carbon pricing has enabled ‘carbon leakage’ to be re-conceptualized as a threat of transferring electricity generation to non-market suppliers, which reinforces state-centred strategies of carbon-intensive production. This case evidences three fundamentally spatial predicaments of technopolitics, contributing to geographical studies of marketization. Firstly, the politics of allocating emissions allowances is exacerbated by the territorial premises of the market that bring neoliberal forms of governing climate change into conflict with state sovereignty claims. Secondly, the technical aspects of calculating carbon exchange cannot be dissociated from other transboundary modes of circulation in the market region, such as electricity transmission networks. Thirdly, experiments with carbon marketization can have spatially differentiated effects, challenging the enclosure of market territory and creating a contentious ‘frontier region’ with distinct trading rules on the borders of the market.
The problem is that the frame or border of the economy is not a line on a map, but a horizon that at every point opens up into other territories ( Mitchell, 2002 , p. 292). In a series of recent articles, Donald MacKenzie has noted that social science research has paid very little attention to how the evolution of markets for trading greenhouse gas emis- sions involves both political decisions and specific technical mat- ters, or what he terms the ‘technopolitics’ of carbon market construction ( MacKenzie, 2009a, 2009b, 2010 ). This paper takes MacKenzie’s point further by arguing that there is a need to add a spatial dimension to the analysis of technopolitics, contrib- uting to the studies of ‘geographies of marketization’ ( Berndt and Boeckler, 2012 ). Following recent work in economic sociology informed by Science and Technology Studies (STS), ‘marketiza- tion’ indicates the constructed, composite and dynamic nature of concrete markets in the making, whereby things such as emissions become commodified and enter into the processes ofeconomic calculation, valuation and exchange ( Çalıs kan and Callon, 2010 ). The geographical perspective employed here enables the design of carbon markets to also be understood as a fundamentally territorial exercise, which is being reproduced in relation to rival techno-political issues and expertise concerned with different logics of security. The paper focuses on a recent shift in the EU carbon trading re- gime, which can best be witnessed in a Communication published by the European Commission in May 2010. The Communication explores the possibility of moving beyond the objective to cut 20% of EU emissions by 2020 in light of the economic crisis and analyses the potential side-effect of outsourcing carbon-intensive production to non-EU countries. This is known in the economics literature as the risk of ‘carbon leakage’. In this document, the Commission indicates that attempting to tackle climate change with a market-based policy instrument, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), may interfere with the implementation of a com- mon energy policy. While stating that the greatest potential for further emissions reduction lies in the electricity sector, the Commission concedes for the first time that carbon leakage may generate legitimate energy security concerns and affect the functioning of the internal energy market:There are cases where carbon leakage can have effects other than loss of competitiveness. For some Member States at the periphery of the EU with easy interconnection to countries out- side the EU, there could be an impact on energy security. For example, this is the case for the Baltic States, given the unique situation of the Baltic electricity markets. This is one of the rea- sons why the ETS already provides for an optional and partial exemption from full auctioning for these countries. Investments in the transmission grid can help reduce the risk to electricity security. In addition, the Commission will closely monitor developments and will, if appropriate, take further measures with a view to enhancing energy security and providing a level playing field for competition on the electricity markets ( Commission, 2010b , p. 11). The Communication not only reveals that the EU scheme accommodates certain compromises between energy and climate security beyond the Kyoto commitment period ending in 2012, but epitomizes the spatial envisioning of the market as a ‘territory’ ( Mitchell, 2002 ) that needs to be continuously renegotiated in rela- tion to other socio-technically distributed practices. Specifically, it leads us to ask how transnational electricity infrastructure net- works may affect the enclosure and calculation of carbon exchange within the borders of Europe. Beyond MacKenzie’s contribution, the technological constituents of the carbon economy are only beginning to be addressed in critical literature (see Boykoff et al., 2009; Bridge, 2011; Newell et al., 2012 ). Yet the exercise of setting up an EU carbon market is firmly rooted in the formation of what has been called a European ‘technological zone’ through wider pro- cesses of market integration and technical harmonization ( Barry, 2001 ). For Barry, a technological zone represents a standardized re- gime that is formed to facilitate the circulation of goods, people and information; ‘‘a space within which differences between tech- nical practices, procedures or forms have been reduced, or com- mon standards have been established’’ ( Barry 2006 , p. 239; see also Dunn, 2005 ). One could say that the EU ETS provides an exem- plary case of a Europe-wide techno-zone in the making, the failure of which may reveal the incapacity of the Union to operate a com- mon political space (cf. Callon, 2004 ). The admission of ‘‘electricity security’’ thus calls into question the possibility of a fully inte- grated and territorially bounded marketplace structured by na- tional borders, which is a prerequisite of the EU economy and the neoliberal exercise of carbon valuation and exchange in regio- nal markets more broadly (cf. Bailey and Maresh, 2009; Bumpus and Liverman, 2008; Knight, 2011 ). The starting point for analysing how attempts at containing both emissions and electricity within the EU economy may contra- dict and subsequently challenge the formation of a homogeneous trading zone is to recognize that ‘the market’ does not represent a universal, pre-existing set of affairs. Rather, according to Callon, MacKenzie and others, it is brought into being in diverse and open-ended forms through the interaction of various calculations, programmes and agencies with concrete material settings and de- vices ( Çalıs kan and Callon, 2010; Callon, 1998; Callon et al., 2007; MacKenzie et al., 2007; Mitchell, 2007 ). While these authors have mainly interrogated the performative functions of economic theory in organizing markets, their recent work offers opportunities for exploring how ‘marketization’ can be not just technologically con- ditioned and politically contested, but a geographically variegated process. Despite the growing relevance of poststructuralist theory for geographical research on markets (see Berndt and Boeckler, 2009, 2012 ), market-led approaches to emissions reduction have provoked little discussion between economic sociology and geog- raphy (but see Lansing, 2012; Powells, 2009 ). To be clear, there is no lack of academic literature on emissions trading in general, especially regarding the EU scheme. Since its launch as the world’slargest carbon market in 2005, it has provided material for vol- umes of books that describe how carbon pricing has become the cornerstone of EU climate policy and document the lessons learned from the first years of trading. This scholarship is largely domi- nated by economists and lawyers, who have explained the specific features of the ‘cap-and-trade’ approach to allocating CO 2 allow- ances and the resulting effects of price fluctuations, over-allocation and limited abatement ( Ellerman et al., 2007, 2010; Faure and Peeters, 2008 ). Geographers, meanwhile, have joined ranks with political scientists (e.g. Skjærseth and Wettestad, 2008 ) to explore the shifting relations between state and non-state actors at multi- ple levels and scales of governance, and their implications for the negotiation of the EU ETS reforms ( Bailey, 2007; Bailey and Maresh, 2009 ). Although recent analyses of the scalar politics of neoliberal climate governance distinguish between what Bailey and Maresh (2009) call the ‘regulatory’ and ‘territorial’ logics of the EU ETS, the latter are ascribed broadly to the alliances formed between state authorities and the industry, without specifying the political rationales nor the technical and material settings that preclude the integration of the market space in practice. The difficulties of delimiting the market territory across diverse socio-material contexts are evidenced by the wide-spread resis- tance to carbon pricing in the new member states located on the eastern borders of the EU that have long associated energy security with the exploitation of local fossil fuel resources. The empirical fo- cus of this study is on a single country, Estonia, which poses a nota- ble paradox for the design of carbon trading rules. While radical economic reforms have rendered Estonia a poster-child for meeting EU aspirations ( Kuus, 2004 ), especially in recent times of financial austerity measures, its electricity sector has largely been operated ‘outside the market’ and almost entirely dependent on using oil shale, a very carbon-rich resource. Concealed behind the ‘‘Estonian exceptionalism’’ based on market liberalism combined with a strict fiscal policy, as The Economist (2011) praises the newest entrant in the euro-zone, is a state-owned electricity monopoly that yields one of the highest degrees of self-sufficiency in EU energy produc- tion ( Eurostat, 2011 ), but also one of the highest levels of per capita emissions in the world ( IEA, 2011 ). Despite the extreme carbon- intensity of the national economy the state government has managed to subvert the demands of neoliberal climate policy by appealing to the country’s geopolitical location between the European market and the former Soviet empire. This argument is further facilitated by the fact that the Baltic countries remain phys- ically interconnected with the transmission grid of the CIS. While there is now growing recognition in postsocialist studies that the vision of a linear ‘‘transition’’ from state-centred planning into a market economy has been misleading, at best, Estonia’s energy sector remains a challenge for the consolidation of the single mar- ket (e.g. Bouzarovski, 2009; Dunn, 2004; Pickles, 2010; Smith and Timar, 2010 ). To echo the words of Kuus (2007 , p. 8), the country ‘‘has stumped Sovietologists, transitologists, and EU bureaucrats alike, as all have seen their most elaborate theoretical frameworks undermined by inconvenient developments on the ground’’. Repre- senting a profoundly disturbing case for EU integration, Estonia therefore provides a unique opportunity to learn about the socio-technical configuration of carbon markets and the spatially distributed processes of ‘marketization’ more generally. Learning from the Estonian case, 1 the following analysis both draws on and complements the performativity approach andMacKenzie’s conceptualization of ‘technopolitics’. It offers an empir- ically informed response based on the binary form of this term, argu- ing that both ‘the political’ and ‘the technical’ are more prevalent than previously described in the context of carbon trading. The con- flict that has occurred in relation to EU border states suggests, along similar lines to a recent critique of MacKenzie, that the process of marketization is pervasively political, as it opens up new objects and forms of disagreement beyond the mechanisms of allocation ( Blok, 2011 ). Likewise, the technical is not limited to the calculative techniques and devices involved in allocation, but market design needs to embrace larger technological systems, including infrastruc- ture networks. As further elaborated in the next section, such tech- no-political predicaments evidence the problem of drawing the boundaries of the market. Grounding these arguments in a detailed account of Estonia’s participation in the EU scheme, the subsequent section documents how a five-year controversy over the reduction of its emissions quota has highlighted a conflict between energy policy and other logics of security in the spatial politics of carbon market- ization. In the following section, the risk of ‘carbon leakage’ antici- pated by economists is identified as a central economic and political index of market design from 2013 onwards. The actual meaning and implications of this concept, however, have become subject to strategic interpretation. Further, associated with the leak- age potential, cross-border electricity exchange with third countries is observed to challenge the constitution of a homogeneous space for carbon circulation, creating a wider ‘frontier region’ ( Mitchell, 2007 ) on the borders of the market. The paper concludes with a call for fur- ther collaboration between social studies of marketization and geo- graphical analyses of territory, networks and non-human agency.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Discussed in light of recent sociological studies of carbon marketization, the evidence provided above leads to several con- clusions. Most importantly, the paper affirms that the performativ- ity thesis should be complemented with a focus on wider political and technical constituents of marketization as an indeterminate process which can assume different courses across both time and space. Rather than representing a strong case of economic ideals coming true, the post-2012 ETS rules were grounded in earlier trials of strength in debates over market efficiency and other matters of concern, such as national energy policy. The rhetoric of ‘carbon leakage’ adopted by state governments further involved mobilizing energy security arguments as generative discursive and territorial practices that lead to novel calculations and market realities when credited by existing material and technicaldependencies. Although the Commission is said to have taken ‘epistemic leadership’ in designing the scheme ( Skjærseth and Wettestad, 2010b ), the re-conceptualization of ‘leakage’ was possi- ble due to the activity of the ‘economists in the wild’, in particular government and industry representatives, thereby lending support to the contention that carbon markets are co-performed, involving economic as much as non-economic expertise ( Callon, 2007 ). MacKenzie’s ‘technopolitics’ offers a helpful starting point for rethinking the politics of performativity. However, the paper showed that ‘politics of allocation’ cannot be detached from wider disagreements and disjunctures that pervade the economization of carbon in its material forms of both emissions and energy. Re-reading MacKenzie’s work geographically directs attention to broader tensions between different modes of political rationality based on territorial autonomy and market-led governance. The new member states’ resistance to carbon pricing falls within the former domain, except that such ‘territorial logics’ were not unilat- erally bound to the strategies of national governments. Rather, ter- ritoriality was coded into the market experiment from the outset, since the enclosure of emissions within the EU economic territory brings neoliberal rationalities of government continuously into conflict with state sovereignty and related modalities of security. Moreover, such territorial premises may generate specific forms and dynamics of marketization when applied to distinct socio- technical and material contexts. Although Callon and MacKenzie conceptualize markets as socio- technical assemblages, they tend to explain market diversity primarily with the relational effects of human interaction with the devices that mediate calculation. The above analysis suggests, however, that technopolitics may also span other socio-technical structures, in this case electricity gener- ation and transmission systems. Such path-dependent technologi- cal networks do not amount to market devices, but nonetheless affect emissions calculation. Being made central to national energy policy and articulated through the technopolitics of ‘leakage’, they perform as a ‘rival calculative regime’ that cannot be ignored in the reconfiguration of the European carbon economy. Furthermore, their presence renders visible the difficulties of singling out a clearly-bounded market territory. The reality of transboundary carbon exchange challenges the performative distinction between market and non-market domains and effectively creates a conten- tious ‘frontier region’ on the territorial borders of the market, which is not reducible to ‘transition’, notwithstanding the agenda of harmonization. In this way, the paper highlights further avenues of collabora- tion between the sociology of marketization and geographical re- search. It leaves open the question of the degree to which agency should be ascribed to the electric grid itself ( Bennett, 2005, 2010 ). After all, the ‘‘electricity leakage’’ risk was skilfully orches- trated by the Estonian government, who mobilized a narrow defi- nition of security as independence from Russian supplies, which in turn was rooted in earlier geopolitical discourses and prolonged resistance to energy market liberalization in the region. This defi- nition was only partially facilitated by the physical infrastructures inherited from the Communist era, whereas the resulting market territory remains contentious and prone to reconfiguration. A de- tailed discussion of ‘distributive agency’ in assemblages is beyond the scope of this analysis, but it would certainly be a mistake to ex- plain the case in terms of technological determinism, especially if infrastructure, like territory, is regarded as a relational concept embedded in other forms of human organization and technological structures ( Star, 1999 ). Having long studied territoriality, borders and networks, geog- raphy has the conceptual tools to investigate how marketization can have spatially consolidating effects, while still taking divergent courses and generating uneven economic geographies. Future re- search could therefore engage with STS and economic sociologyby studying empirically the ways in which markets are both spa- tio-temporally specific and geographically distributed assem- blages. Worldwide experiments with the creation of new carbon economies provide ample opportunities for such collaboration.