Portrait Ian Gray

Ian Gray

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Centre Alexandre-Koyré / Campus Condorcet / Bâtiment EHESS

2 cours des Humanités, 93322 Aubervilliers, France

Sujets de recherche

Projet post-doctoral

Climate-proofing the global economy? How central banks incorporate knowledge about environmental risk into the financial system

My post-doctoral project examines the emerging role of central banks as core actors in the governance of planetary climate risks. In 2017, a small group of central banks launched the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a collaboration that now includes 80+ central banks, with the express aim of developing a coherent approach to managing macroeconomic threats posed by climate change. Headquartered in Paris, the NFGS serves as a clearinghouse for the design of institutional tools, strategies, and regulatory mechanisms to makethese risks visible and manageable within current logics of financialization and capitalist growth. The effects of these climate-related monetary regulations (which build heavily off the experience of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis) are just becoming manifest, as exercises calling for climate-related stress tests and other supervisory interventions are nearing their first iteration in a handful of NGFS member countries.

My research is organized around three central research questions: 1) What prompted central bankers to awaken to the problem of climate change at the moment they did? 2) What kinds of knowledge, instruments, and policies are central bankers turning to and developing in the name of a climate resilient financial future (and what kinds of epistemologies of risk and other mental imaginaries do they invoke in the process)? And finally, 3) what do the early results of these “climate-proofing” exercises suggest about the type of social stability these techniques promote in specific sectors of the economy, such as housing and mortgage lending? Bringing together perspectives from economic sociology, science studies, and the sociology of risk, I aim to develop a critical socio-economic framework for understanding the increasing role of central banking in the politics of international environmental governance. In doing so, I will also shed light on the distributional consequences of making climate change a problem of monetary regulation.

Contrat post-doctoral IFRIS (décembre 2021 - novembre 2023)

Thèse soutenue

Making climate knowledge actionable: Risk, uncertainty, and the politics of protection in a warming world

In my dissertation, I examine the social processes by which knowledge about the physical consequences of climate change become tractable for both administrative and economic actors, and the political consequences of that tractability. Structured around three qualitative cases, the dissertation sheds light on how efforts to anticipate climate impacts are reconfiguring material and institutional relations in US residential insurance markets, the French public water sector, and coastal wetland protection in the state of Louisiana. Drawing across my cases, I generalize a set of mechanisms through which climate science is transformed into “actionable information” and becomes enrolled in projects of environmental governance. Actionability is about articulating knowledge produced by earth system scientists concerning the near-term future (and increasingly the here-and-now), with decisions-making processes that determine, for instance, whether local insurance contracts are to be renewed or not, how dwindling common resources should be rationed, and where (and for whom) public money in protective infrastructure should be invested. How actionability is constructed in each case—via what technologies, imaginaries, rationales, and policies—strongly shapes who will likely bear the burden of climate impacts and who will benefit from efforts to adapt. As the need for communities to cope with climate change increases, tending to what types of social and material relations are being valued and foregrounded for protection (and which are not) means tending to these processes of actionability.

Thèmes de recherche

- Sociologie des risques climatiques

- Sociologie économique et de la politique de l’économie

- Sociologie des sciences et de l’environnement


Articles dans des revues à comité de lecture

“The Treadmill of protection: How public finance constrains climate adaptation ”, 2021, The Anthropocene Review, 8(2) : 196-218.

“Petit ‘audit’ climatique de la sociologie économique : Dix années de publication dans la Socio-Economic Review et de communications a SASE,” (w/Stephanie Barral), 2021, 26: 185-194               

“Hazardous simulations: Pricing climate risk in U.S. coastal insurance markets”, 2021, Economy and Society 50(2) : 196-223.

“Marketization as Political Technology: Unintended consequences of climate finance in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” 2017, Economy and Society 43(3-4), 545-575.

“Three maps and three misunderstandings: A digital map of climate diplomacy,” (w/Venturini, T., Baya-Lafitte, N., Cointet, J.P., Zabban, V., and de Pryck, K),  2014, Big Data and Society 1(1), 1-19.

Dernière mise à jour : janvier 2022

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