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Philanthropy Must Challenge Itself to Meet the Climate Challenge

Rapid growth in climate philanthropy risks redundancy, waste and friendly fire

Climate philanthropists, we are counting on you.

Despite the world’s best efforts to date, we still face a yawning investment gap of several trillion dollars a year that needs to be closed between now and 2050 to spare the planet from cataclysmic warming. And despite ever-improving models prompting ever-greater alarm, we remain in a David-and-Goliath struggle with transnational interests and states who perceive carbon neutrality as an existential threat.

If the world is going to ward off the worst of the climate crisis, philanthropists have a central role in remaking the global economic system for a carbon-neutral future. Philanthropy has a unique perch from which to assess complex challenges and flexibility to choose the place, moment and means to intervene. The broad range of actors and interventions that philanthropic resources—funding, but also courage, patience and agility—can support provide a base that raises government and institutional ambition, mobilizes action and engenders accountability.

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