Climate compatible development in the infrastructure sector

Research reports and studies
May 2011
Lily Ryan-Collins, Karen Ellis & Alberto Lemma

Climate change is recognised as one of the most significant threats to development during the 21st Century and beyond.  Infrastructure policymakers and practitioners have a crucial role to play in meeting the challenge of climate change in the developing word.  This applies both to mitigation, i.e. reducing greenhouse gas emissions in ways that facilitate continued growth and sustained poverty reduction; and to adaptation, i.e. protecting vulnerable populations from the impacts of climate change.  This report provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities at the nexus of climate change, infrastructure and development. 

Key points emerging from the analysis include:

  • Developing countries face three key challenges in adapting to, and mitigating the effects of, climate change: raising the necessary finance, developing and transferring technology, and building government capacity to formulate and implement climate change policy in the infrastructure sector.
  • But climate change has also created developmental opportunities in the infrastructure sector, including access to new sources of finance, the potential for green job creation, and profiting from synergies between climate change initiatives and developmental priorities.
  • The analysis in this report suggests that donor climate-related infrastructure funding may be excessively skewed towards mitigation at the cost of adaptation, and that mitigation funding may be excessively skewed towards the energy sector at the cost of the buildings sector.

The report makes policy recommendations and identifies priority areas for further study.

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