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Insurance and the temporality of climate ethics: accounting for climate change in US flood insurance

Elliott, Rebecca ORCID: 0000-0001-6983-7026 (2021) Insurance and the temporality of climate ethics: accounting for climate change in US flood insurance. Economy and Society, 50 (2). 173 - 195. ISSN 1469-5766

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03085147.2020.1853356


How is knowledge about future climate change operationalized in governance of the present? This paper addresses this question by examining efforts to repurpose the US National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for climate change adaptation. Policymakers and officials initially imagined the challenge to be principally a technical one of accounting for uncertainty in risk assessments and insurance tools. But the conduct and outcome of their efforts reflected instead politically charged normative tensions related to the temporality of climate ethics. NFIP policyholders, constituted as a ‘risk public’ by the instruments of flood insurance, exposed these tensions in mobilizations targeting practices of risk governance. The case shows that practices of ‘accounting for’ climate change and governing it through insurance work out—in however tentative or provisional a fashion—larger moralized disputes over the distribution of burdens, benefits and responsibilities over time.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2020 15:15
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 17:06

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