Only 2% of global donations go to the fight against climate change

The great leaders ask at the Davos Forum (Switzerland) to increase philanthropic financing to alleviate the effects of global warming

Bill Gates in profile. Archive

The last COP 27 held in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) closed with a historic agreement thanks to the climate change loss and damage fund. A kind of ‘bank account’ in which the richest and, above all, the most polluting countries must pay for the damage caused by the climate in the least developed countries. The climate summit held in Copenhagen (COP15) in 2009 agreed that the most industrialized should allocate 100,000 million dollars annually. However, more than a decade later, the agreement has not been fulfilled at any time. A deficit that, in part, has been alleviated with private donations, but which is still insufficient.

The climate finance income statement barely reached $83.3 billion in 2021, to which must be added $3 billion, according to the ClimateWorks Foundation, from private donations. “To achieve the speed and scale required to heal Earth systems, we need to unlock not only private capital and government funding, but also the philanthropy sector as a truly catalytic force to achieve the necessary acceleration,” Klaus noted. Schwab, at the opening of the Davos Forum, an appointment that brings together the world’s top leaders and the richest on the planet.

Despite these calls, it is estimated that less than 2% of philanthropic funding is currently devoted to climate change action. The ClimateWorks Foundation estimates that climate change giving rose 25% between 2020 and 2021, three times faster than philanthropic giving overall, according to the Foundation, which used data from Wealth-X and Barton Consulting.

Triple your funding

Despite the efforts and the growth, in recent years the funding of the foundations for the mitigation of climate change has gone from 900 million dollars in 2015 to more than 3,000 million in 2021 and in the last 60 days of last year the The final figure grew by more than 40%, “driven in part by the arrival of major new donors,” says ClimateWorks research.

The latest names to join these lists are Bloomberg Philanthropies, the IKEA Foundation or the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. “Philanthropic organizations can play a unique role in fostering unprecedented, radical and urgent collaboration between the public and private sectors. Only by working together at scale can we unlock the investment needed to achieve our ambitious climate goals and protect the planet,” said Per Heggenes, head of the Ikea Foundation.

Despite the expansion of the numbers, the nationality of the climate change financiers does not change and is essentially North American. In the 2021 list, names such as the Waverley Street Foundation with 3.5 billion dollars, the Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs with 25 million, the Jeff Bezos Earth Fund with 1.5 billion, Mark and Lynne Benioff, owners of Time magazine stand out. , with 200 million dollars, or the foundations of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. “In Spain, philanthropy is not yet so advanced,” responds Xosé Ramil, sustainability coordinator of Fundaciones por el Clima.

Added to the lack of transparency in donations in Spain is the lack of climate ambition of the foundations, since “only 10% goes to it,” says Ramil. “There’s a lot of work to be done,” he adds. This path began in 2020 with the launch of Fundaciones por el Clima, which brings together 40 entities to “work collaboratively to promote a Philanthropic Coalition in the face of the climate emergency and for social justice in Spain, following the example of several organizations throughout Europe”, they reveal in their declaration of intent. “We are already 220”, adds Xosé Ramil. “They intend to fight climate change, now the challenge is to get the money,” he warns.

money for clean energy

Once again, the vast majority of donors to curbing climate change direct their millions of dollars to boost clean energy, especially in public participation projects and promotional campaigns that encourage the fossil fuel industry to direct investments towards clean energy.

However, many others focus on mitigating greenhouse gases and reducing the use of fossil fuels and coal, the climate change work of various funders focuses on building a clean economy and green jobs, green building and creating climate equity.

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Only 2% of global donations go to the fight against climate change