Philanthropic funding for clean air amounts to 0.1 per cent of grants worldwide, according to a new report from the Clean Air Fund. And while philanthropic funding for clean air projects has increased, it is largely disbursed by climate, environmental, and energy funders, and mainly directed to North America, Europe, India, China, and global projects.

Clean Air Fund’s study, released today on the United Nation’s clean air day, also found that governments worldwide funnelled 21 per cent more aid to fossil fuels than to air quality projects in 2019 and 2020, and research suggests that government funding for clean air has actually dipped in the past two years, in comparison to where it was in 2015.

Overall, funding for air quality falls short of what is needed to tackle the problem, the Clean Air Fund’s research has found. Currently, air pollution causes over seven million deaths every year – more than twice as many as from malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined.

Addressing the philanthropic community, Jane Burston, Executive Director of Clean Air Fund said: ‘It’s encouraging to see that funding for clean air from philanthropic donors is continuing to rise. But it’s surprising how little still comes from foundations outside of the environmental space – three-quarters of the current funding is from foundations focused on climate, environment, and energy.

‘Air pollution is a crisis with multiple touch-points, impacting everything from public health to early childhood development, sustainable development and equity. It’s important therefore that funding for the area is prioritised not only by those concerned primarily with tackling climate change but also by a broader range of philanthropic donors. If we can bring diverse expertise, connections, and ideas to the issue, we will be much more effective and faster in our response.’

Read the full article about the insufficient state of clean air philanthropy by Elika Roohi at Alliance Magazine.