Economic Valuation of the Environment
Attempts to express environmental problems in economic terms have been at the forefront of environmental policy debates for over twenty years. But the process and politics of making economic valuations applicable to ecological entities have received relatively little attention within environmental sociology. This chapter starts by considering how social scientists have analysed what it means to create a market in a novel area or to ‘economize’ an issue. These social-scientific ideas are then applied to two leading ecological issues: attempts to manage carbon emissions through pricing, and concepts and practices for valuing natural resources. The chapter concludes by highlighting the way that pricing and market-making have changed the character of environmental governance, introducing new kinds of actor and incentives which social scientists need to study.
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