The dust is finally starting to settle after a wild roller-coaster of a ride for U.S. climate policy. When all is said and done, three bills with major climate implications (IIJA, CHIPS, IRA) have passed the 117th congress. In a previous post on this blog, I argued that the most impactful philanthropic lever for donors looking to fight climate change was to push for systemic change in policy and technology. These bills (fueled in part by major philanthropic efforts) represent a major victory, and a critical step in the right direction toward the systems change that we need. But after such a major accomplishment, what’s next? There is still a lot of work to be done, and there are more opportunities for smart climate philanthropy than ever before.

At my organization Giving Green, we’ve been working to identify the most high-leverage philanthropic opportunities in this new landscape. Below are four strategies we think have particular promise.

1. Win the IRA: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is the most meaningful piece of climate legislation in the U.S., arguably the world. But even though the ink is dry on the law, there is a lot more work to be done to ensure that it meets its goals.

2. Stand firm on firm power. The last decade has seen an incredible decline in the cost of wind and solar power. The IRA and other similar policies around the world are spurring mass deployment of renewable energy, and this is great. But it’s not enough — as everyone knows, the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. Our power grids need “firm” power, i.e. sources which can provide energy at all times. The path to get to zero emissions for firm power is murky.

3. Heavy Industry, heavy challenges: In sectors like electricity and ground transportation, we can see a clear path to a zero-carbon future. In others, like heavy industry, there is even more work to be done. Although there are technological pathways to making industries like steel, fertilizer, and concrete carbon-free, there is no reason to think carbon-free versions of these products will be cheaper to produce than carbon-intensive ones, at least not in the medium term.

4. Don’t forget agriculture: Although agriculture and land use are responsible for around 18% of global emissions, there is essentially no plan to reduce agricultural emissions globally. Agricultural emissions are barely covered in the IRA, and are exempted from the EU’s European Trading System. Within agriculture, the biggest culprit is livestock.

Read the full article about climate philanthropy by Daniel Stein at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.