In The News
Explore SAIS
In The News
Explore SAIS

The B.I.P.R. site uses cookies and similar technologies.
By clicking the "Accept" button, or continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our cookie policy.


BIPR | Climate Change and Infrastructure
Climate Change and Infrastructure

March 30, 2023 - 11:30

Olivier Frémond, Madenco, The Netherland

Event Recap

Olivier Frémond begins by emphasizing the important ties between infrastructure and public policy: issues of fairness, accessibility, provision of services, and efficient use of the public purse are all deeply intertwined with infrastructure. Infrastructure itself is the foundation upon which society is built, encompassing such services as provision of electricity, water, transport, health, and education. The delivery of these services to beneficiaries is jeopardized by climate change because the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events impacts the operations of existing infrastructure facilities. Adaptation and resilience can save hundreds of millions of dollars. Climate change also requires the construction of new sorts of infrastructure that will enable the production, transmission, and distribution of new sources of energy and mitigate carbon emissions.

In 2015, 196 countries committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the Paris Agreement. However, the world is far from reaching this goal. In fact, unless we significantly reduce our carbon emissions, global warming could reach 5-degree Celsius. This increase would have disastrous consequences for the planet and humanity. To mitigate the effects of climate change, carbon emission must be reduced by around 400 gigatons per year by 2030.

Frémond argues that a key part of this reduction must come from innovation in the energy and transport sectors. Carbon capture is a proven technology that allows emitted carbon to be captured and stored rather than released into the atmosphere. A Norwegian project, Northern Lights, offers an example of how this works. The project will allow northern European countries to capture their carbon at the point of emissions of power plants or industry facilities, compress it, and ship it to Norway. From this point it will be pumped into the North Sea via a pipeline and stored in a reservoir in the Earth's crust. This project and others like it could offset the excess emission of carbon and allow governments to meet the 2050 goal of net zero.

In addition to carbon capture, Frémond lays out a path to net zero that includes developing innovative technologies such as clean hydrogen, atom fusion, and electric vehicles, in addition to scaling up solar, wind and nuclear energies. These technologies will require massive investment in infrastructure, estimated at seven to eight trillion dollars until 2030. He argues that coal plants must be decommissioned, as they are responsible for 30% of yearly carbon emissions. To finance the investment requirements, policy makers should find ways to price negative externalities and offer tax incentives to incentivize firms to reduce their carbon footprints. Private sector capital is needed to complement public investment, and public-private partnerships (PPPs) are needed to mobilize human capital, financial resources, and government capabilities.

In closing, Frémond argues that economists must find new yardsticks to guide policy makers in their fight against climate change and generate public buy-in for government policies, rather than measuring economic progress solely through GDP.

Full Audio:

Climate Change and Infrastructure

hosted by Professor Tito Cordella

Olivier Frémond
Madenco, The Netherland

Olivier Frémond is currently the non-executive Chairman of Madenco, a Dutch company dedicated to the training of infrastructure specialists through e-Simulations.

He began his career in the oil industry as a petroleum engineer with Royal Dutch Shell. He then moved to the financial sector, focusing on project finance, mergers and acquisitions and privatization with the British Merchant Bank Schroders, prior to joining the World Bank Group. Frémond spent 20 years at the World Bank where he held various senior positions, including Senior Advisor to the World Bank's Public-Private Partnerships Department, WBG Representative to the G20 Working Group for Infrastructure, member of the Supervisory Board of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), Country Manager in Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe, Equatorial Guinea, and Benin, and Director of the Corporate Governance Division. He is the author of several publications on privatization, public-private partnerships and corporate governance, and a MOOC on PPPs with the Coursera platform.

Since 2018 he has taught public policy and public private partnerships in public infrastructure at the Washington DC campus of SAIS and Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris. He also continues to advise emerging markets and developing countries on their PPP programs.
Upcoming Events
Gender, Socialization & Negotiation Effectiveness
Oct 02
Andrea Kupfer Schneider
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, US
Political Risks in the Western Balkans
Oct 05
Jelena Dzankic
European University Institute
US Foreign Policy in an Age of Resurgent Major Power Competition: Colin Kahl in Conversation with Francis J. Gavin
Oct 12
Colin Kahl
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Stanford University; Former Deputy Assistant to the US President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President
Interpreting Europe's Future
Oct 16
Genoveva Ruiz Calavera
Directorate-General Interpretation (SCIC), European Commission
Japan Turns its Back – Humanitarian Crises in Myanmar and the Demise of the Adaptive State
Oct 30
Lindsay Black
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), The Netherlands

Recent Events
Faculty Spotlight on the Middle East: A Region in Transition
Sep 25
Raffaella A. Del Sarto
Associate Professor of Middle East Studies, SAIS Europe
Researching Global Environmental Politics: Water, Ice, Sky, and Penguins?
Sep 21
Joanne Yao
Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe and University of London
NATO Enlargement: Lessons of History - A Conversation with Mary Elise Sarotte
Sep 05
Mary Elise Sarotte
Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
NATO and the Evolving Transatlantic Security Agenda. A Conversation with Benedetta Berti and SAIS Europe Students
May 04
Benedetta Berti
Head Policy Planning, Office of the Secretary General at NATO

About BIPR
Research Affiliation
Funded Projects
Follow BIPR

© BIPR, all rights reserved - Bologna Institute for Policy Research - via Andreatta 3, 40126, Bologna, Italy