Financing a blue economy regional rent platform in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Nicolas Lewis, Richard Le Heron


This paper examines efforts to realise blue economy development aspirations in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Community groups and local business have turned to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to finance a green economy development vision centred on marine eco-tourism, a research and education centre, and sustainable harvesting of seafood. This ‘blue economy’ (green economy in the oceans) development platform represents an intervention that challenges the grip over regional futures exerted by property owners and capital. What is in play is a struggle over both economic rents and competing visions of the future. We explore the potential of such initiatives and question the role that may be played by green finance in carefully cultivated relational economic development platforms. Ultimately regional development depends on the creation and mobilisation of geographical rents, but the crucial question is who appropriates them, when and where.


Nick Lewis is an economic geographer at the University of Auckland. His interests lie in market making, biological economies, and higher education economies.

Green Structural Adjustment in the World Bank’s climate city

Dr Sophie Webber1

1University Of Sydney


Over the last decade the World Bank has struggled to reinvent itself as its relevance and impact wanes. During this period, the Bank’s lending has been proportionally dwarfed by other kinds of financial flows into the Global South, while the impacts of climate change exacerbates poverty and inequality thereby undoing previous development gains. In response, the Bank has reimagined its practices. It now devotes significant resources to facilitating private investment into public goods, such as infrastructure, intended to improve the lives and withstand the rigours of global warming in vulnerable cities of the Global South. However, rendering infrastructure investable requires policy, knowledge, financial, and governance transformations. The World Bank works across all these arenas to encourage and facilitate cities’ access to global capital markets. Here, we outline these new practices and situate them within longer histories of uneven development, neoliberal restructuring, and climatic change. Drawing on policy documents, reports, and interviews with key Bank staff, we demonstrate that a new era of structural adjustment is at hand. We call this catalogue of transformations the “Green Structural Adjustment”. We focus on how the conditions for building bankable infrastructure projects are accomplished through the Green Structural Adjustment and outline its preliminary effects.


Sophie is a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Sydney.

Climate finance, justice, and the Green Climate Fund: More than rhetoric?

Ms Pia Treichel1

1University of Melbourne, School of Geography, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia


The latest funding commitment in the international climate agreements is for $100bn/year to be delivered to developing countries for climate action by 2020, with the bulk of this money expected to flow through the Green Climate Fund (GCF). To respond to justice concerns, vulnerable countries are prioritised in these agreements to receive financial support, and the GCF has emphasized the importance of ‘country-ownership’, adopting an option of ‘direct access’, whereby national or subnational organizations can be accredited to the GCF and then implement projects themselves without needing to go through the large, international, United Nations (UN) (or UN-like) organizations. There is also an aim to fund mitigation and adaptation efforts equally. However, the evidence to date shows that the GCF is overwhelmingly channelling funds through traditional multilateral routes, and that it is delivering far less than 50% towards adaptation. It is therefore unclear if the GCF can effectively deliver on the climate justice promise that was central to its genesis. This paper will explore the limitations inherent in the GCF’s approach by analysing the priorities and preferences it has exhibited thus far, in particular the process by which it accredits entities to administer projects.


After finishing her Masters of Environment at the University of Melbourne in 2008, Pia has spent the past ten years working as a climate specialist with various NGOs (both environmental and human-rights focused organisations) and UN-agencies.

Pia is now a PhD Candidate with the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography and the Climate and Energy College.

Placing carbon markets in a climate-changing capitalism

Dr Gareth Bryant1

1The University Of Sydney


This paper will contribute to the session by discussing the experience of the biggest global experiment in green finance to date: the European carbon market and its links with international offsetting schemes. Drawing on my recent book, Carbon Markets in a Climate-Changing Capitalism, published by Cambridge University Press, the paper outlines three contradictions of carbon markets for addressing climate change as a socio-ecological, economic and political crisis. First, carbon markets apply principles and tools of formal market equality to address what is a substantively unequal socio-ecological problem. Second, the economic viability of carbon markets depends on the maintenance of fossil fuel industries that require phasing out. Third, carbon markets shape climate politics in a way that prioritises the singular logic of price incentives over pluralistic policy debate. The paper will conclude by reflecting on what the experience of global carbon markets reveals about other fledgling and faltering versions of ‘selling nature to save it’.


Gareth Bryant is a Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. Gareth’s research explores financial modes of governing different areas of socio-ecological life. He is the author of Carbon Markets in a Climate-Changing Capitalism (Cambridge University Press) and has published articles on climate and education policy in Environment and Planning A, Antipode, Energy Policy, New Political Economy and the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Gareth was awarded the Australian International Political Economy Network (AIPEN) journal article prize and the Global Network for Financial Geography (FINGEO) dissertation prize. He co-edits the Progress in Political Economy (PPE) blog.

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