The role of carbon markets in governing global carbon flows triggers substantial debates among policymakers, social movements and social scientists. The present debate on carbon markets is different from the earlier debate on market-based instruments in environmental politics. Carbon markets represent both more radical and more risky forms of governing global carbon flows, as illustrated by an analysis of both regulatory and voluntary carbon markets operating on the global and personal level. To make use of their environmental potential and to prevent them from generating perverse consequences, carbon markets are to be regulated by state, market and civil society authorities. Embedding carbon markets in civil society means connecting carbon flows to the households and the lifestyles of citizen-consumers in a direct and meaningful manner, which can increase legitimacy and foreground climate change politics among citizen-consumers.
- ecological modernization
- sustainable consumption