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Dr Patrick Bigger

Formerly at Lancaster University

Research overview

My research is on the expanding role of financial institutions and associated practices of financial management in combatting multiple, interacting environmental crises. My current work is on the creation of a global market in climate bonds, as well as debt products for biodiversity conservation. I previously worked on the creation of California's GHG emissions trading program.


Dr. Patrick Bigger is a lecturer in the critical geographies group within LEC. His research examines the ways in which financial actors and their logics and practices are being brought to bear on diverse, but interrelated, environmental crises. Conceptually, his interests include the relationships between environmental-financial products and environmental regulations/regulators; how environmental-financial products fit into broader trends in finance; and how environmental finance values (including, but beyond price) the nature it is attempting to protect.  His work focuses primarily on climate change mitigation and adaptation, but also touches on associated environmental problems, particularly biodiversity loss through land use changes. He currently has two active research projects, each externally funded. First, he is beginning a research project on the creation and operation of the Climate Bonds market, primarily in the European context. Climate bonds raise capital for diverse institutions, ranging from municipalities to multinational corporations, through relatively well understood debt instruments, but with added environmental emphasis. This work will be conducted as part of a larger project on reconceputalizing the relationship between financial risk and climate change directed by Dr Brett Christophers at Uppsala University and funded by the Swedish Research Foundation. His second ongoing project, conducted jointly with principal investigator Dr Jessica Dempsey at the University of British Columbia and funded by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, explores return-generating conservation finance. These conservation mechanisms are still quite disparate and diverse in their structure and goals, so the project aims to synthesize what conservation finance packaged as private equity, bonds, and other arrangements does in practice (both economically and environmentally) and why the most recent push to make conservation investable is different from previous incarnations. These two projects follow on his doctoral dissertation work at the University of Kentucky (USA) Department of Geography, which examined the creation and operation of California's cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions trading program, in which he continues to be interested in, particularly as the California model is adopted elsewhere. Prior to joining the Lancaster , Dr. Bigger was a Marie Curie Fellow for the European Network for Political Ecology at the School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester. 


Ph.D. Geography, University of Kentucky, USA (2015)

M.A. Geography, University of Kentucky, USA (2009)

B.A. Geography, University of Arizona, USA (2005)

Research Grants

As PI:

Environmental Governance in the Carbon Economy: Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions in California's Cap and Trade Program. US National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant #1303063. 

As named researcher:

Climate Change and Transformations of Finance Risk. Swedish Research Foundation #2015-01694

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