Crisis Capitalism and Coloniality: Funding climate action projects in the 21st century

Authors: Joshua Long*, Southwestern University
Topics: Environment, Urban Geography, Development
Keywords: Climate Change, Climate Finance, Climate Urbanism, Climate Governance
Session Type: Virtual Paper
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Throughout the development sector there has been a call for new funding mechanisms to address the climate crisis, with much of this focused on connecting private capital to ‘bankable’ projects in climate-vulnerable cities. Enacted amidst a twenty-first landscape of interlocking financial, epidemiological, and ecological crisis, this call features an urgent narrative of ‘resilience-amidst-crisis’ that promotes large-scale, profitable investments as a type of green growth through debt-financing. The political orchestration and administration of new funding mechanisms (particularly green bonds and sustainable bonds) requires a new form of climate governance focused on the channeling of enormous sums of private capital through an assemblage of intermediaries toward profitable climate projects. This paper interrogates this trend in climate finance, suggesting that the framing, monetization, and orchestration of climate projects is dependent on a narrative of crisis capitalism deeply rooted in a colonial mindset of exploitation and profit.

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