Updated Nov 1, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Philanthropic giving to climate change stayed flat in 2022

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Despite the increased urgency of reducing emissions and building resilience to climate change impacts, a new analysis shows that total philanthropic giving by foundations and individuals remained essentially flat from 2021 through 2022.

Why it matters: In addition to the growing low-carbon economy, philanthropic giving is a major source of support for emissions cutting as well as climate adaptation.

The big picture: 2023 is on the way to becoming the hottest year on record globally, and new data suggests that the world may only have about six years of present-day emissions rates before the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C is surpassed.

  • Given this reality, scaling up philanthropic support for climate programs is sorely needed, said ClimateWorks CEO Helen Mountford.
  • ClimateWorks, itself a philanthropic foundation, publishes the annual report.
  • "The current funding is not commensurate with the urgency of the crisis and the scale of the efforts needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C," Mountford told reporters.
  • Total giving added up to about $811 billion in 2022, ClimateWorks found, of which between $7.8 to $12.8 billion was focused on climate change mitigation.

Between the lines: The flat trend in spending from 2021 to 2022 can be traced to large boosts in funding the previous year, as well as challenging economic conditions.

  • Clean electricity was still the biggest category for foundation funding, but 2022 saw a spike in money for reducing emissions of super pollutants like methane and to decarbonize transportation.
  • In 2022, foundations began investing in minerals crucial to renewables, with $35 million going to this emerging area.

The intrigue: One notable trend in the report is a significant shift in funding to Africa, where population growth is particularly high.

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