Conjuring a Cooler World? Blockchains, Imaginaries and the Legitimacy of Climate Governance

Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn

Global Cooperation Research Papers 28, Duisburg 2021

Keywords: blockchain, technology, finance, governance, legitimacy

DOI: 10.14282/2198-0411-GCRP-28


Meeting on the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement signing in 2017, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat founded the Climate Chain Coalition (CCC). Backed by a number of multi-stakeholder groups like the Blockchain for Climate Foundation, the Ottawa-based CCC promotes the ‘blockchainization’ of the Paris Agreement. What kind of ‘cooler’ world do blockchain-based climate governance projects conjure? This paper scrutinizes the shared visions materializing across climate finance experiments, locating them largely within existing individualistic imaginaries rather than more collectivistic alternatives. It finds the imaginaries of ‘cool’ technological experimentation to fall short in materializing broader input and more effective output required to overcome the legitimacy crisis facing market-led climate governance.

The Author

Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn is senior research fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and assistant professor in International Political Economy at the University of Groningen. He researches the on-going and varying implications of big data and blockchain technologies at the intersections of global environmental, financial and security governance. He is the editor of Bitcoin and Beyond: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains and Global Governance (Routledge, 2018) and author of Professional Authority After the Global Financial Crisis: Defending Mammon in Anglo-America (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).

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