On Climate Rent

In: Historical Materialism
Romain Felli University of Geneva

Search for other papers by Romain Felli in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


As environmental degradation becomes a growing concern, this article argues that the development of international law on climate change expresses the deep social contradictions between accumulation and reproduction under capitalism. These contradictions are translated into the creation of a form of public property over the right to emit greenhouse gases (and not the ‘privatisation’ of the atmosphere). This public property is unequally distributed amongst states in an imperialist manner. The distribution of these rights at the domestic level amounts to the distribution of rights to climate rent. Contrary to popular accounts of the ‘commodification’ of nature, I argue that emission rights are not ‘commodities’, and emissions trading and carbon markets are not ‘accumulation strategies’. These are merely depoliticised forms in which climate rent is extracted and circulates to preclude political debates about the goals of production.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1642 442 33
Full Text Views 506 93 5
PDF Views & Downloads 417 211 13