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Decarbonizing capital : investment, divestment and the qualification of carbon assets.

Langley, P. and Bridge, G. and Bulkeley, H. and van Veelen, B. (2021) 'Decarbonizing capital : investment, divestment and the qualification of carbon assets.', Economy and society., 50 (3). pp. 494-516.


rivate investment capital is now widely regarded as strategically significant to the governance of climate change. A dedicated and dynamic carbon finance sector has emerged that features techniques and practices for decarbonizing capital, facilitating investment in low-carbon projects and enterprises or enabling divestment from high-carbon firms and sectors. We bring together and develop the concepts of ‘qualification’ and ‘assetization’ to analyse how decarbonizing capital is proceeding. With specific reference to green bonds and the equities of fossil fuel corporations, we show how investment and divestment entail the qualification of things as assets with more-or-less specific carbon properties. But the qualification of assets as ‘low-’ or ‘high-carbon’ is also shown to be contingent, contested and compromised, featuring contrasting modalities of qualification that are decarbonizing capital in uncertain and incomplete ways.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 17 November 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Economy and Society on 17 May 2021, available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:27 November 2020
Date of first online publication:17 May 2021
Date first made open access:17 November 2022

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