Anita Engels (University of Hamburg)

sans-titreFor more than two decades I have been interested in how anthropogenic climate change is turned into a societal problem and a target of public policies, e.g., by analysing discourses in science, politics and the mass media. I also looked at new forms of local and global governance which have been developed around this topic. In particular, I became interested in the workings of “carbon markets”: institutional arrangements by which rights to emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are created and made transferable, even tradable as a commodity. The pricing of carbon is proposed by many scholars and practitioners as the most promising way to achieve a long-term reduction of carbon emissions and to promote low-carbon development. My research contributes to a critical assessment of this dogma. Pricing carbon is a very specific form of valuation, and it is an important goal of social analysis to show the complex preconditions which are required for carbon markets to operate, and to discuss all the important effects and side effects which their growing dominance produces in the current capitalist society. Ultimately this research deals with the question what happens if and when climate change is transformed from a societal problem into an investment opportunity. Which processes of financialisation can we observe? How do they change the “problem” of climate change? Which “solutions” are created through these processes, and with what consequences?

Selected Publications:

Engels, Anita 2016: “Anthropogenic climate change: how to understand the weak links between scientific evidence, public perception, and low-carbon practices.” Energy and Emission Control Technologies 2016:4 17–26.

Engels, Anita & Knoll, Lisa 2014: “The Localization of Carbon Markets: Negotiated Ambiguity”, in: Drori, Gili S./Höllerer, Markus A./Walgenbach, Peter (Hg.): Global Themes and Local Variations in Organization and Management – Perspectives on Glocalization, New York: Routledge, 355-368.

Engels, Anita 2009: “The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme: An exploratory study of how companies learn to account for carbon”, in: Accounting, Organizations and Society 34, 488-498.

Weingart, Peter, Engels, Anita, Pansegrau, Petra 2007: Von der Hypothese zur Katastrophe. Der anthropogene Klimawandel im Diskurs zwischen Wissenschaft, Politik und Massenmedien, Opladen, Barbara Budrich (2. Auflage mit neuem Vorwort; 1. Auflage erschienen 2002 bei Leske+Budrich).

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