Climate announcement

MacArthur today announced $50 million in grants, a down payment on a major new commitment to help curb global climate disruption by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

MacArthur’s initial focus is on building and sustaining sufficient U.S. leadership to ensure that the nation meets its own responsibilities in addressing climate change. In the future, the Foundation will also explore ways to use grants and impact investments, and other means, to be a constructive partner to other countries, such as India and China, and others, whose leadership and action are also critical to addressing a more sustainable future.

“Climate change, and its global disruption, threatens to undermine virtually everything we care about as human beings, from quality of life to the economy, from poverty to peace and security,” said MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch. “Global climate disruption will have a profoundly negative impact on how humans live and work. That’s why we need effective international leadership and cooperation that bring about sufficient and measurable results.”

Initial grants will help continue and accelerate U.S. greenhouse gas reductions, increase and sustain U.S. political consensus for climate action, and provide incentives for a low-carbon economy. The climate initiative is the second big bet MacArthur has announced in pursuit of transformative change in areas of profound concern; the first was a $75 million initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses its jails.

“The United States needs to lead by example to be a credible partner with other nations in addressing climate change,” said Jorgen Thomsen, Director of MacArthur’s Conservation and Sustainable Development program. “As the most significant historic producer of greenhouse gasses, the United States has a particular responsibility to lead the effort toward a global low-carbon economy.”

MacArthur’s initial $50 million investment in 2015 includes both unrestricted general operating support and specific project grants.

  • Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy – $20 million in general operating support, including for their efforts to engage a cross-section of political and other constituencies and form coalitions for durable action on climate policy in the U.S.
  • ClimateWorks Foundation – $3 million in general operating support, including for its efforts  to mobilize philanthropy to prevent global climate change
  • Energy Foundation – $3 million in general operating support, including for its efforts to help develop an energy efficient future and open markets for clean energy technology
  • Natural Resources Defense Council – $3 million in general operating support, including for its efforts to promote and defend a healthy, sustainable environment and action on climate change
  • Environmental Law & Policy Center – $1.5 million in general operating support, including for its public interest advocacy in legal and regulatory proceedings to protect natural resources and encourage clean energy development
  • Sierra Club – $15 million for the Beyond Coal campaign, which works to move the U.S. toward low-carbon and clean energy sources
  • ecoAmerica – $3 million for the MomentUs campaign to grow public support for climate action
  • Carbon Disclosure Project - $340,000 to accelerate implementation of effective carbon pricing

This new effort to support leadership to combat climate change builds on the Foundation’s nearly 40-year history in conservation and environmental stewardship, from preserving biodiversity, forests, and waterways to making impact investments and grants that have helped promote and advance energy efficiency and renewable energy. In addition to the support announced today, the Foundation in the last year awarded:

  • $1 million to quantify and spotlight the economic risks of climate change to the U.S. economy
  • $6 million to help eliminate harmful climate and environmental impacts of natural gas production, and decarbonizing the U.S. energy system
  • $31 million in grants and program-related investments to finance energy efficiency improvements across the country
  • $8 million in grants to support forest carbon sequestration projects outside the United States