In 2008 Caisse des Dépôts has launched an international research programme on adaptation focussed on designing and funding infrastructure. It is run by Mission Climat, Caisse des Dépôts' research centre on the economy of climate change and carbon markets. Because infrastructure has a long lifecycle and requires considerable financial investment, it is essential to take into account climate change in the design of new infrastructure and modify old infrastructure if necessary. This requires active and effective debate between public decision-makers, companies and experts in climate change, as well as the development of economic tools adapted to this type of funding. The research programme is structured around two topics: An analytic topic which analyzes the economic tools to be set up and Application modules which are supported by concrete infrastructure management examples.
The international research programme addresses four themes (North-South problems; cities and local government; water, agriculture and forests; industrial infrastructure; the financial sector) as well as economic and financial instruments.
The first concrete application of the research is the launch of a “Cities and climate change” club: Aimed at French local authorities who require additional information on their role in this area, the club aims at clustering knowledge on both management and financial issues within the scope of infrastructure and climate change. It focuses on possible mitigation and adaptation measures involving urban infrastructure and its funding. Three annual meetings are organized for French local authorities and public service companies – water and energy use and supply, buildings and land development, transportation – to discuss climate change and infrastructure with economics experts. The first meeting was on energy infrastructures (how to adapt them to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions); the second one was on flood risks management.