OSF pledge $16 million to prevent rollbacks on climate during COVID-19


Alliance magazine


The Open Society Foundations have announced a pledge of $16 million in support of urgent climate crisis priorities related to the coronavirus pandemic. The funding will support advancing ‘green’ economic stimulus plans and stopping authoritarian efforts to roll back environmental progress. The announcement of emergency funding is part of a more than $130 million investment that was announced earlier this month to confront the impact of COVID-19 worldwide.

The details of the funding package include a pledge of $8.95 million to advance ‘green’ economic stimulus plans in the United Stated and Europe by countering disinformation efforts and supporting reforms that focus on low-wage workers, frontline communities, and democracy. A pledge of $3 million will go to nonpartisan public mobilisation and advocacy efforts that are working to decrease fossil fuels, address air quality, and accelerate a just and effective energy transition toward resilient, sustainable, and open societies. And $2 million will go to supporting the ongoing action to prevent a surge in deforestation in Latin America – an especially urgent cause, as environmental enforcement measures are being rolled back during the coronavirus crisis.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has made all too real the dangers of ignoring science. Our world is facing two emergencies at once – both the climate crisis and a global pandemic – and it is deepening racial, gender, and economic injustices,’ said Patrick Gaspard, president of Open Society Foundations.

Scientists have long warned that the climate crisis is a ‘threat multiplier’, meaning it will unleash and exacerbate existing social inequalities and injustices. The current global health crisis has made the climate threat even worse and revealed that urgent, science-based action on both issues is necessary to prevent catastrophic impacts on human health, the environment, and the global economy.

‘From the beginning, the Foundations have grappled with the greatest threats to open society,’ said Alexander Soros, deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations. ‘The climate crisis poses an existential risk to all the communities and causes we support. This funding is part of our ongoing commitment of standing up for human rights, social justice, and equality.’

According to a statement from OSF, the funding recognises that in this moment of emerging COVID-19 stimulus packages, bailout plans, and worker programs, fundamental decisions are at stake that will either drive progress towards an inclusive, green, and just future – or support the destructive, business-as-usual practices that threaten us all.

‘We all have significant choices ahead of us on how to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic on better, more resilient footing,” Gaspard said. ‘Open Society is responding both by supporting the needs of low-wage workers and frontline communities, and by backing those taking bold steps towards a just and sustainable future.’

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