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Infrastructure investments and multiple benefits to climate change efforts

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Oliver Heidrich, Graham Thrower, Professor Andy Pike


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Current and projected climate change is heightening the demand for adaptation and mitigation efforts and the provision of infrastructure systems. The levels of investments into infrastructure systems fluctuates worldwide and it is evident that financing infrastructures has a deep-seated influence on the way it is used, the quality of services that it provides and the public benefit that is derived from the service. Infrastructure as an asset class is attractive to institutional investors, from pension funds looking for low risk, economically regulated assets, to banks working with experienced contractors to finance large scale projects. However it is not clear if and how infrastructure investment is addressing environmental and social agendas. Emergent research with a wide range of major institutional investors in infrastructure from across the public- private spectrum (Thrower, 2017) is beginning to provide an empirical insight into the aggregated institutional behaviours (and their underlying causes) that contribute to the construction of markets for financialised infrastructure. Our research has shown that where those pools of capital are at their most dense (typically in major OECD markets) there can be opportunities for informed and proactive state actors. Central Government is on multiple sides of transactions e.g. market maker, regulator, concession granter and debt investor; and the contractual aspects of public private partnership render ongoing ‘soft’ political policymaking into hard contractual commitments over an asset lifecycle. Future research should quantify the impact of financing on the use, quality and equity of infrastructure provision of e.g. bridges, energy, rail, roads. The impact is not only for investors as a financial rate of return but also on society as a whole.ReferencesThrower, G. (2017) 'Geographies of infrastructure investment capital...implications for value, governance and the state', Valuing and Financing the Infrastructure of Cities, Regions and Nations. Leeds, UK, 26-27th April 2017.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heidrich O, Thrower G, Pike A, Gibbon J

Editor(s): Kropp, J, Rybski, D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Cities and Climate Conference 2017

Year of Conference: 2017

Print publication date: 01/09/2017

Online publication date: 10/09/2017

Acceptance date: 06/05/2017


Sponsor(s): EU FP7