Why We Support This Work
We are facing a climate crisis. Globally, we must halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, while ensuring that by 2050 we have balanced our carbon budget so that any emitted carbon is countered by equal amounts removed from the atmosphere. We are not currently reducing emissions fast enough to meet these targets and avoid increased frequency and intensity of severe weather events and natural disasters.
Climate change affects all of us, but not equally. We know that the climate emergency is not happening evenly across the world and that the level to which communities are prepared to respond and recover from this crisis varies dramatically. Any existing inequity is exacerbated when cities overheat, oceans rise, drought consumes crops, and fires rip through communities.
Centering equity in climate work vastly raises the ambition of any climate solution by recognizing the interconnectedness between improvements in livelihoods and a stable climate. This work contributes toward ensuring the human right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is afforded to present and future generations.
The Climate Solutions grantmaking is organized around four general approaches:
Altering Political Discourse
Activities and grantees infuse the public narrative about the climate crisis with more equitable solutions identified by and for people disproportionately affected by climate change and the transition to clean energy.
Advancing and Enforcing Climate-Friendly Energy Policies and Regulatory Action
To help rapidly expand clean energy and technology deployment, activities center on educating policymakers, regulators, businesses, and consumers about the costs and benefits of less-carbon intensive energy policy.
Expanding Financing and the Climate Solutions Funding Community
We use our institutional voice to increase support from domestic and international funders for advancing equitable climate solutions, and we invest catalytic capital to help deploy clean energy and technology to communities that have or will be disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis.
Supporting Power Building
To center racial, economic, and generational equity in conjunction with decarbonization, we support active participation of communities most affected by the climate crisis that have substantive contributions to make in shaping climate solutions. This approach includes both a cross-cutting dimension of the other three approaches as well as a stand-alone approach. In the United States, we focus on supporting community power building among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations and individuals representing rural communities that have been disproportionately affected by the transition to a clean energy economy. In India, activities are focused on capacity-building among organizations that may not focus exclusively or primarily on climate, as well as organizations representing workers’ and smallholder farmers’ interests.
Any scenario for limiting warming to well below two degrees Celsius means beginning to reduce global emissions sharply by 2025 and then continuing that trend through 2050 and beyond. By 2025, we hope that the sum of our efforts—in collaboration with our grantees, domestic and international funder partners, and other beneficiaries and agents of change—will contribute to five expected outcomes:
- Wide ranging national and subnational policies and targets around decarbonization, clean energy deployment, and sustainable land management are implemented
- Environmental protection laws are enforced and expanded
- Funding for organizations led by communities most affected by climate change and for the transition to a clean energy economy is increased
- Investment capital for communities disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis is more readily available
- Organizations led by and representing BIPOC communities; rural communities; and displaced workers are established as leaders in the climate movement
Our grantmaking focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, etc.) from energy-related sources. There is an emphasis on strengthening support for subnational work in key cities, states, and regions across the world, with heightened attention to the United States and India. We will support equitable climate solutions by improving citizen engagement in shaping climate policy within the context of each country’s politics, society, and economy. To a lesser extent, we provide seed funding to innovative and/or timely approaches to advance climate solutions, including in areas of finance, governance, and philanthropy.
We are committed to learning with and from communities disproportionately affected by climate change and strive to share decision making with organizations led by or representing these communities. Beneficiaries of grant support will include organizations led by and representing communities that do not have access to reliable, clean energy, are/will be economically disadvantaged due to the energy transition, and experience disproportionate health impacts of climate change. This includes organizations led by and representing communities of color, Indigenous peoples, rural communities, and displaced workers. Other beneficiaries may include entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors, and aligned funders.
While we are not accepting unsolicited proposals at this time, we are always eager to hear new ideas and perspectives.
Measurement and Evaluation for Learning
The measurement and evaluation of the Climate Solutions initiative includes questions that (1) test our theory of change and underlying assumptions, (2) assess our activities, and (3) measure the extent to which we have met our intended outcomes in the United States, India, and China. From measurement and evaluation we expect to learn the extent to which the Foundation’s strategy and investments contribute to stabilizing the pace of greenhouse gas emissions growth in developing countries and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Updated June 2021