Climate philanthropy after Paris

Charles Keidan

Climate change is arguably the biggest issue facing the planet. It is therefore remarkable and surprising that only a small proportion of philanthropic resources address the issue head on – around 2 per cent. Could the landmark Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 herald the moment when that changes?

This edition of Alliance focuses on what’s next for climate philanthropy in the wake of the Paris Agreement. Some see that agreement, adopted by 195 countries, as one of the most important and successful international pacts of recent times, a moment when world leaders confronted the risks to people and planet and actually did something – or at least agreed to do something. Among a range of announcements, the most notable was the headline grabbing pledge to limit temperature rises to 2 °C.

Different reactions to the Paris Agreement are reflected in the voices and viewpoints of our guest editors. Michael Northrop of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund highlights the opportunities for philanthropy to help consolidate the achievements at Paris, especially in re-forestation, renewable energy and cities. For Nnimmo Bassey and Terry Odendahl, Paris was as notable for its gaps as its gains. They note the absence of marginalized voices – the next generation, indigenous communities and women. They also regret the lack of commitment to climate justice and the concern that those who are least to blame for global warming are the ones already paying the greatest price.

The final section considers the arguments in favour of divesting philanthropic endowments from fossil fuel companies as well as the arguments of those who believe that active engagement as shareholders in these and other companies is the way to go – at least for now. Here, the guest editors speak with one voice and the special feature concludes with an endnote expressing their shared resolve for the journey ahead.

This edition, like those past, would not have been possible without many contributions and contributors both in-house and from the Alliance community worldwide. Please enjoy the product of our combined efforts. If nothing else, I hope that the issue leaves you hoping, like me, that after Paris, climate philanthropy is about to change.

Charles Keidan
Editor, Alliance

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