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Charitable Foundations Pledge $4 Billion for Global Climate Action

California hosted the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last week, reasserting its leadership when it comes to taking actions stemming the rising tide of greenhouse gas emissions and limit global climate warming.

The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco

Twenty-nine charitable foundations attending the summit pledged to invest more than $4 billion over the next five years to stem the rise in mean annual temperatures and the myriad, profound effects of a warming climate. It’s the largest such investment pledge ever made.

“Philanthropists can and must work together as catalysts to engage governments, the business community and NGOs to accelerate progress on climate change,” Nat Simons, co-founder of the Sea Change Foundation, stated. “The multi-billion dollar commitment announced today is only a down payment. Together we’ll need to invest billions more. And soon.” 

Funding for low- and zero-carbon solutions

The $4 billion in capital charitable foundations pledged will be invested in advancing the deployment of low- and zero-carbon solutions that can mitigate climate warming. These span a wide range of technologies and implementation strategies, but they will share a common focus: Addressing the five key challenges Global Climate Action Summit participants identified in San Francisco.

  • Healthy energy systems;
  • Inclusive economic growth;
  • Sustainable communities;
  • Land and ocean stewardship; and
  • ‘Transformative’ climate investments.

“Each day brings new evidence of climate change affecting lives—from extreme weather events, to increased food insecurity, to tragic impacts on human health. We see the suffering that a steadily warming planet is causing to people around the world, but we also see hope,” said Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). “As philanthropists, we are committed to doing our part—and to engaging on climate change like never before.”

A substantial proportion of the $4 billion will go towards supporting local organizations “working on the front lines of climate change,” according to a summit press release.

“This initiative is a breakthrough, and very welcomed by civil society. Political leaders need to feel the pressure from their constituencies to prioritize action on climate change,” said Wael Hmaidan, executive director of the the Climate Action Network International.

CAN is a network of international and national NGOs working to stem the rising tide of rising greenhouse gas emissions and global mean temperature.

California took bold action to combat climate change the week before the summit. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 into law. The new legislation sets a goal of the Golden State relying entirely on “carbon-free” energy by 2045. Climate action at the local level

Climate change action at the local level

At the local level, NGOs such as RE-volv are doing their part. A pioneering developer of a charitable, community-solar project crowdfunding platform, RE-volv launched a solar crowdfunding campaign that aims to install a solar energy system at the True Fellowship Baptist Church in San Francisco Bay area community of Richmond.

Installing the solar energy system will save the church 30 percent on its electricity bills, freeing up money to invest in community service programs. It will also reduce carbon emissions in a community that has long been adversely affected by the presence of an oil refinery.

“By having solar panels, it’s financially a gift for the church [because] we can use those funds for other projects”, True Fellowship Deacon David Green said.” We can provide more food at the giveaways and provide more personal hygiene products for the homeless. It will really help us dramatically. We can use that money to better serve our community.”

“For decades Richmond residents have been exposed to the dangerous air pollutants of the Chevron refinery,” RE-volv points out. “This campaign is demonstrating that solar energy is an alternative to the fossil fuel economy while providing tangible benefits for the community.

“This is RE-volv’s first project in Richmond, CA”, said RE-volv Executive Director Andreas Karelas. “We are excited to demonstrate that clean energy is viable in communities that don’t traditionally have access to it. True Fellowship provides invaluable services to those who need it most, and we are honored to be able to support them in their work.”


*Images credit: 1) Global Climate Action Summit, World Travel & Tourism Council; 2) RE-volv

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