OPINION: Where the Hell Is All the Climate Funding?
Thursday, April 23, 2015
A growing mountain of research suggests that climate change is likely to aggravate every problem now confronting humanity: hunger, gender inequality, ethnic conflict, unemployment—you name it. So you’d think, by now, that this existential threat would be a top priority of philanthropy.
You’d be wrong. Less than 2 percent of all philanthropic dollars go to the cause, and much of it comes from just a handful of funders. Where is all the money?
When you write a lot about environmental philanthropy, it’s easy to be impressed by big gifts and new foundations tackling climate change. But the larger picture is that not nearly enough money is flowing to move the needle on this urgent challenge.
Recently, Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation, and Carol Larson, president of the Packard Foundation—two of the biggest climate funders and also board members of philanthropic climate initiative ClimateWorks—wrote an opinion piece for the Chronicle of Philanthropy challenging other foundations to start funding climate work, and fast. The authors cite plenty of progress, and say nothing to discount the foundations that are truly championing this cause. But that 2 percent figure is hard to get past.