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Accounting for carbon: climate mitigation and the socio-technical networks of carbon accounts, valuation, and exchange 
Shaila Seshia Galvin (Geneva Graduate Institute)
Diego Enrique Silva Garzon (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Placing focus on socio-technical networks and infrastructures, data practices and technologies, and issues of environmental, agrarian, and climate justice, this panel examines how accounting and data practices associated with climate mitigation interventions transform socio-environmental relations.

Long Abstract:

The rise of nature-based solutions and land-based carbon removals as a response to the climate crisis brings with it new ways of rendering, reckoning with, and transforming socionatures. In this context, carbon and, more broadly, greenhouse gas accounting, has emerged as a domain of knowledge and a set of practices operating through socio-technical networks to enable interventions intended to combat climate change by reducing or removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.

Carbon accounting is, however, more than a calculative and valuation effort. It is a technoscientific practice that reconfigures local realities to render them amenable to quantification (Spash 2015). Others have examined how carbon accounting reduces the multiple relations that lie behind the production of carbon emissions to a commensurable substance–units of CO2 equivalent (MacKenzie 2009; Bumpus 2011). In this panel, we build on critical debates about commensuration and equivalence (Carton 2021) to examine how calculative and valuation interventions have the capacity to transform socio-environmental relations, from changes in the management of forests, agrarian, land and marine environments, to the local impacts associated with the arrival of new carbon resources and finance (Galvin and Silva Garzón 2023).

This panel analyzes how new modes of accounting for carbon shape agrarian and environmental relations. We ask: what type of socio-technical networks are emerging in the process of making GHGs measurable, quantifiable and exchangeable? What sorts of relations among humans and nonhuman organisms, as well as technical devices, data infrastructures and practices, are promoted within these accounting networks? How do these infrastructures shape or transform local realities in ways that could exacerbate and/or attenuate forms of environmental, agrarian, and climate injustice? We welcome contributions that address these questions directly or indirectly in relation to carbon accounting, data practices and technologies, and emergent forms of valuation and exchange within land and marine environments.

Accepted papers: