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To fund innovation we must be bold: A commentary by Savanna Ferguson

April 15, 2022

Solar_wind_power_fudfoto_GettyImages-994140818To foster innovation in the face of crises, create equitable, empowering grantmaking relationships

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment report, released in late February, is sobering; more and more people—3.5 billion, according to the report—are extremely vulnerable to the growing dangers of the warming climate. Temperatures are soaring, disasters are becoming ever more severe and regular, biodiversity and ecosystem services are deteriorating, and the heaviest burden is falling mainly on those least able to cope with those impacts.

While it presented yet another piece of bleak climate news, the report also noted that we can avert the worst of the climate crisis if both the public and private sectors act fast and act big to launch climate solutions that catalyze fast-paced, large-scale drops in greenhouse gas emissions.

Philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping to bring about such climate breakthroughs. A survey conducted last year by Alliance magazine found that 78 percent of nearly 300 respondents across 57 countries thought climate change would be the dominant issue in philanthropy in the next 25 years. This presents an immense opportunity for philanthropists to fill a stark funding gap, for currently less than 2 percent of global giving goes to climate change mitigation, according to a report from ClimateWorks Foundation.

How do we funders seize this opportunity and fulfill our potential to help address the climate crisis? More money helps, but it won’t be enough. We need to fund strategies with the potential to create transformative change. We need innovation. To fund innovation we must be bold; we must take more risks....

Read the full commentary by Savanna Ferguson, executive director of Climate Breakthrough.

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