Inderscience Publishers

Personal carbon trading and sustainable consumption: the art of the state

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Anticipating a new prominence for the carbon market and lifestyle change in post-2012 implementation of ambitious carbon mitigation targets in OECD countries, including the UK, this paper draws on Foucauldian scholarship to support an argument that personal carbon trading (PCT) may be consistent with New Labour's understanding of the role of the 'consumer citizen' in modern Britain, and that PCT may also prove to be an advanced tool for triggering and supporting some of the elusive behaviour change required by the demands of sustainable consumption in the context of climate change. The article proposes that PCT sits at the apex of a number of debates of interest to political ecologists, including climate change, sustainable consumption and individual freedom in an era of environmental constraints.

Keywords: personal carbon trading, PCT, sustainable consumption, consumerism, climate change, Michel Foucault, governmentality, individual freedom, consumer citizen, green economics, carbon markets, life style changes, carbon mitigation, behaviour change, sustainability

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