WEF launches philanthropic initiative to mobilise $3tr a year to tackle climate crisis

WEF launches philanthropic initiative to mobilise $3tr a
year to tackle climate crisis
WEF launches philanthropic initiative to mobilise $3tr a year to tackle climate crisis

Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA) initiative aims to leverage philanthropic capital to help drive the trillion dollar investments needed to tackle climate change and nature loss

A new global philanthropic initiative to help mobilise the estimated $3tr a year needed to deliver net zero emissions, reverse nature loss, and restore biodiversity by 2050 was launched this week at the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Davos Summit.

Dubbed Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA), the new initiative aims to deliver a new wave of public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) that could help unlock trillions of dollars of financing for new low carbon and biodiversity protection projects globally.

With the global economy facing severe energy and cost of living crises, the WEF warned the Paris Agreement's ambition of steering the planet towards a 1.5C warming pathway "hangs in the balance". It also warned the new Global Biodiversity Framework and its goal to grant 30 per cent of all earth and sea protected status by 2030 represented a "bold but fragile [commitment] in the face of a rising biodiversity crisis".

As such, the group argued that current levels of funding are "slow and inadequate", adding that a "new approach is needed to get capital flowing" whereby philanthropic funding is harnessed to catalyse further investment from the public and private sectors. The group argued that philanthropic funding enjoyed significant advantages over other forms of financing as it is "nimble, more tolerant of risks and is driven by values and long-term outcomes rather than quarterly returns".
"We are at a tipping point in our efforts to put the planet back on track to meet our climate ambitions," said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF. "To reach the speed and scale required to heal the Earth's systems, we need to unlock not only private capital and government funds, but also the philanthropy sector as a truly catalytic force to achieve the necessary acceleration."

His comments were echoed by Helen Mountford, chief executive at the ClimateWorks initiative, which is supporting GAEA. "By unleashing the small but mighty ‘P' of philanthropy, we can create truly catalytic partnerships that unlock ambitious and collaborative public, private and philanthropic action to improve people's lives," she said.

Philanthropic financing for climate mitigation has risen in recent years, but still represents less than two per cent of total philanthropic giving, which according to WEF hit $810bn in 2021.

The WEF argued that greater philanthropic funding for climate and nature initiative would support, not detract from, other existing social priorities.

Over the next 12 months, WEF said GAEA will now work with its founding members across three main objectives, which include working with leaders from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to identify and target climate and nature solutions where they are best positioned to play a catalytic role; pilot and refine funding models that can support PPPP interventions; and scale up and replicate successful approaches in new sectors and regions.

The WEF pointed to existing examples of how philanthropic funding is delivering tranformative climate programmes. For example, the Clean Cooling Collaborative was founded with the help of an initial $10m of philanthropic funding in 2016 and has since mobilised more than $600m in public and private finance to improve equitable access to low-carbon cooling systems that are on track to deliver 4.2 gigatons of avoided CO2 emissions by 2050.

Similarly, the government of the Seychelles recently leveraged philanthropic funding, public loan guaranteesm and private investment to raise $15m through a blue bond and convert $22m of government debt into conservation funding to protect 13 marine areas, covering an area larger than Germany.

The GAEA initiative has initially been supported by more than 45 partners, including Active Philanthropy, Bezos Earth Fund, BMW Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust, among others.

The initiative has also been supported by a number of individuals, academic institutions, companies and public sector organisations, including Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Capital for Climate, We Mean Business Coalition, and Salesforce, among others.

* This article was originally published here