Central Banks and climate change: hedging climate risks or guiding the path to a green transition?

6 Décembre, 2021 - 14:00 - 18:30

Workshop of the key theme "The Transformations of Capitalism"

Sciences Po, Amphithéâtre Erignac, 13 rue de l'Université, 75007 Paris


Climate change is a complex policy problem, requiring coordinated actions at multiple fronts in order to lower carbon emissions and mitigate climate change impact. An unexpected participant in this debate over the course of the last 6 years have been central banks. Ever since Mark Carney’s speech on the ‘tragedy of the horizons’, the topic of climate change and how central banks shall respond to it has seen a rapid evolution among central bank technocrats. Initially the focus was on the financial stability risks posed by climate change and the need to develop risk management techniques to integrate these into business activity of financial institutions. But since 2018, the debate has substantially widened, now envisaging the possibility by central banks to adjust their corporate purchasing programs to tilt market portfolios into a composition compatible with the goals of sustainable development and the COP 15, in particular the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degree by 2100.

This workshop pursues the question of how to make sense of this deepening engagement of central banks from a positive and normative perspective. From an analytical perspective, it seems puzzling that central banks, known for their esteem for technocratic independence, engage with a topic which is likely to induce the increasing politicisation of these institutions. We will therefore inquire into the reasons which triggered this engagement and which sustain it over the last 6 years. At the same time, the workshop will be inquiring from a normative perspective which role central banks could and should play in the transition towards an economy with lower carbon footprint.

The workshop unfolds in two sessions.

2 pm: Welcome

2.15-3.45 pm: Panel: Dynamics of engagement of central banks with climate change


Oliver Kessler, Erfurt University, Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences


  • Agnieszka Smolenska (Polish Academy of Sciences): Central bank independence in an era of climate change - Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe
  • Matthias Thiemann (Sciences Po, CEE): From discursive contradictions to discursive ruptures to discursive openings? Central banks and the problem of climate change
  • Jens Van t’Kloster (University of Leuven, RIPPLE): Technocratic Keynesianism: A paradigm shift without legislative change

4-6.30 pm: Roundtable: Central banks and climate change : what can central banks deliver?

  • Pierre Charbonnier (Moderator, Sciences Po, CEE, CNRS)
  • Daniela Gabor (Professor of Economics and Macro-Finance, University of West England, FBL - Law, Bristol)
  • Jean Pierre Landau (Associate Researcher at Sciences Po, Department of Economics)
  • Eric Monnet (Paris School of Economics)

Compulsory Registration 

A valid health pass and mask are required to attend this event 

For more information: matthias.thiemann@sciencespo.fr  

Picture: Lightspring_shutterstock_271128437

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