Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Pine Beetles And Humans: The Ecologically Mediated Development Of British Columbia’s Carbon Tax


  • Stephanie Sodero Memorial University



Actor-Network Theory, British Columbia, Carbon Taxation, Environment, Mediation, Post-Humanist


In 2008, the province of British Columbia was an early mover in North America introducing a broad-based and escalating carbon tax. This article explores the interface between the human and non-human environment that resulted in this policy outcome. I use Actor-Network Theory, with its emphasis on the co-construction of human and non-humans, to describe, inform, and problematize the way humans relate to the non-human environment. Drawing on a post-humanist Latourian perspective, I examine the interlocking relationship between “chemical reactions and political reactions.” I explore five examples of human and non-human mediation in the development of British Columbia’s carbon tax: environmental pricing, the beetle epidemic, political economy, emissions accounting, and emotion. Applying Actor-Network Theory to the case of British Columbia’s carbon tax disrupts traditional anthropocentric approaches to policy development, highlighting the role of the non-human environment in shaping, rather than simply being shaped by, policy.