Jonathan Rutherford, Universite Paris Est, Paris, France

Presentation Title: Strategies, scenarios and politics of decarbonization in Paris




This study used case study analysis of the role of heating and cooling infrastructure in de-carbonization efforts in Paris. It analyzed the contested nature of the ‘low carbon urban’ and the extent to which it may be productive to explore a more distributed, relational and heterogeneous notion of agency in analyzing activity, capacity and capability to effectuate a low carbon transition.

In seeking to analyze these distinctive configurations and outcomes, the study explored how low carbon stakeholders in Paris have organized differently around and indeed by, particular material sites, objects, resources and infrastructures in attempt to create and sustain visions and implement actions towards a low carbon transition. These infrastructures (e.g., pipes, plants, contracts, financial flows, steam, hot and cold water, coal, olive kernels...) can be said to filter, mediate between and translate interests, visions and actions, and thus contribute actively to shaping the realm of what is possible in urban low carbon efforts. The aim was therefore to take stock of and  understand seriously the matter(s) through which low carbon is proposed, advanced and executed, and to critically explore the work of these vital infrastructures within socio-ecological assemblages that knit together (partially, temporarily, dynamically) diverse and usually conflicting agendas, interests and stakeholders.