Giving Compass' Take:
- Edouard Morena offers an overview of the history of climate philanthropy — while intentions have been noble, the results are lacking.
- As the urgency to take action on climate change continues, one major criticism of philanthropy is trusting too much in market-based solutions. How can we shift mindsets and look for bigger ideas that will have an impact?
- Read about why clean energy efforts must accelerate to stop climate change.
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Despite their comparatively limited resources — climate philanthropy represents less than 0.1 percent of total climate finance — foundations’ combined efforts over the past 30 years have had a significant impact on the international climate debate. As I have argued elsewhere, they played an active and influential role in the lead-up to the Paris COP.
As the ECF wrote shortly after the Paris Conference, “although we should be careful not to overstate our role, it is important to recognize that the climate philanthropy community’s activities prior to and at the COP helped to lay the basis for the outcome.” As the 2017 One Planet Summit illustrates, world leaders and other key players in the international climate debate also recognize the central importance of philanthropic foundations.
Has their influential role contributed to curbing climate change? According to the UN, the years from 2015 to 2018 have been the four hottest on record. While climate philanthropy cannot be blamed for rising temperatures, its efforts to curb climate change must be critically scrutinized. We must hold it accountable for its role in developing and promoting the voluntary, market-based, and bottom-up approach that presently dominates the international climate agenda and that has clearly not delivered the required results. As Marc Gunther wrote in a recent op-ed, “if philanthropy is to be judged by its outcomes — and how else should it be judged? — climate philanthropy has failed.”
Read the full article about the failure of climate philanthropy by Edouard Morena at Public Books.