My research lies at the intersection of environmental, development, and organizational sociology. I am primarily concerned with power and inequality in climate change decision- and policy-making. I aim to understand who has the agency to assert their priorities in policy and practical approaches to address climate change, what are the structural barriers that marginalize some actors in decision-making contexts, and how this serves to perpetuate existing global inequalities and create new ones.
The UN Climate Negotiations
My work on the UN climate negotiations examines institutional inequality and barriers to effectiveness. I have been attending the negotiations since 2017, and have conducted over 200 hours of observation and 30 interviews with negotiators. In my first paper from this research, forthcoming in Social Problems, I construct a multi-scalar argument, demonstrating how global ideals of national development are institutionalized in the climate negotiations and systematically hinder the participation of delegations from the world’s most vulnerable countries. Learn more about my work on the climate negotiations here.
Adaptation in Bangladesh
Adapting to the impacts of climate change is one of the most important global undertakings of this decade and decades to come. Those with the power to shape how adaptation takes place will determine whether communities survive, thrive, or disappear entirely. In my dissertation, I examine adaptation in Bangladesh, widely considered to be one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate impacts, and a formative site for adaptation projects. I ask, how is adaptation being planned and implemented in Bangladesh and what are the implications for climate justice? Through an examination of power and inequality in four elements of adaptation projects – accessing funds, defining vulnerability, incorporating knowledge, and promoting sustainability – I argue that inequality is being reproduced through adaptation, such that those who cannot adapt on their own are further marginalized through adaptation efforts. Read more about my work on adaptation here.
Global Climate Funds
I have created a corpus of project documents for 372 climate adaptation projects funded by four global climate funds. I am using computational methods and the tools of automated text analysis to facilitate my content analysis of these documents, to better understand how successful project proposals are framed, who is imagined to have agency in projects, and what types of projects are prioritized given the vulnerabilities identified. In the future I plan to focus this analysis on the Green Climate Fund project documents in a broader analysis of how the GCF is shaping the possibilities for climate adaptation in the Global South and putting a spotlight on the relationship between adaptation and development.