Tea in TiP with Kirstine Lund Christiansen

Tea in TiP is a series that started a decade ago, where we interview guests who have come to spend time with us, about their projects and activities.The following took place by email in the Spring of 2024, between Rachel Douglas-Jones and Kristine Lund Christiansen, a guest hosted by James Maguire.



Hi Kirstine, welcome to Tea in TiP. Tell us about your project.

My PhD project explores how practices and narratives around carbon offsetting is changing and what kind of reform initiatives are being implemented by carbon market stakeholders to achieve a more integrative nature-based carbon market. There has been a lot of debate around carbon offsetting in recent years with proponents seeing it as a way to channel finance to nature restoration and protection projects, while allowing corporations to claim that they are carbon-neutral or net-zero emissions, while critiques see it as greenwashing and sustaining business-as-usual. I particularly investigate how techno-scientific tools and expertise are leveraged to reform the carbon market.

The research is part of the research project ‘The (re-)production of green imaginaries through Natural Climate Solutions’ funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark and is supervised by Jens Friis Lund from Copenhagen University and Kate Dooley from University of Melbourne. I am in the final year of the PhD aiming to hand in by the end of the year.


Great. So what are you working on here at ITU – is it what you came to do?

I have been working on the last article for my PhD, where I explore how the concept of additionality is being debated and negotiated among stakeholders to the carbon market – and in particular, among researchers of the carbon market. Additionality is about proving that a carbon project would not have happened without carbon finance, and therefore requires counterfactual analysis – we can never know for sure whether a project is additionality, yet the legitimacy of the market rests on this analysis. I have been trying to apply STS perspectives to my investigation, where input from TiP researchers have been very helpful – which was also what I hoped I would gain from visiting TiP and ITU.

What have you learned about academia from visiting another institutional context?

It has been really interesting to learn how to explain my research to a different audience and to reflect upon how we communicate research and research interests across disciplines and universities. I have also thought about how similar the informal dynamics are between seemingly different institutions – how much organisational structures matter, and that it is always a good idea to join the after-lunch-coffee-run.

Where can we read your work – published or forthcoming – or hear you at conferences in the next year or so?

The first paper of my PhD, entitled “Our burgers eat carbon”: Investigating the discourses of corporate net-zero commitments is already out here. And (hopefully) soon I will have the second paper out in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space called Relegitimising the voluntary carbon market: visions of digital monitoring, reporting and verification.

Seeing the spring approach through these windows have been an absolute treat!

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