UCL Anthropocene


Dr Véra Ehrenstein

Academic position: Teaching Fellow in Environment, Politics & Society

Department: Geography

Email: vera.ehrenstein@ucl.ac.uk 


I have a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the Ecole des mines de Paris, France. I joined UCL in 2018 as a Junior Research Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies (theme Turbulence). I now teach in the Department of Geography. With Alice Rudge from UCL Department of Anthropology I co-lead the project Anthropocene Substitutions supported through the SHS Dean’s Funds (Feb-July 2021).

My work is concerned with the interplay between natural sciences, politics and economics in the climate crisis. I have conducted research on the development of carbon offsetting and incentives to reduce tropical deforestation (REDD+) in the UNFCCC negotiations. This involved tracing how such attempts to marketize the carbon stored in trees played out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I also did some work on the European Union emissions trading system where I examined the relationships between economic expertise, industrial lobbying and environmental activism. My current research examines the production of knowledge on carbon storage in the Central African forests, raising questions about the politics of scientific collaboration in postcolonial contexts and the Anthropocene.

Research Projects:


‘Technocratic activism: environmental organisations, carbon markets and European bureaucracy’, forthcoming in Birkbak A. and Papazu I. (eds.), Democratic Situations, Mattering Press

‘Dreams of Purity: Improved Palms, Refined Oils, and Ethical Consumption’, Society + Space Magazine, April 2021 (with Rudge A.)

‘Economic under-determination: Industrial competitiveness and free allowances in the European carbon market’, Journal of Cultural Economy, 2021 (with Neyland D.)

‘Studying a (contested/concerned) market in the making: Voluntary offsetting, from UN climate talks to corporate sustainability departments’, economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, 2021 (with Valiergue A.)

Can Market solve problems? An empirical inquiry into neoliberalism in action, Goldsmiths Press, 2019 (with Neyland D. and Milyaeva S.)

‘Carbon sink geopolitics’, Economy and Society, 2018

‘The friction of the mundane: on the problematic marketization of the carbon stored by trees in the tropics’, Journal of Cultural Economy, 2018

‘The conditional sink: counterfactual display in the valuation of a carbon offsetting reforestation project’, Valuation Studies, 2013 (with Muniesa F.)


GEOG0007 Human Ecology (Undergraduate)

GEOG0150 Space and Society (Undergraduate)

GEOG0025 Political Geography and Geopolitics (Undergraduate)

GEOG0073 Environmental Knowledges (Postgraduate)