Philanthropy’s Role in Tackling Climate Change
15 October 2018 at 5:01 pm
There is an urgent need to rapidly scale up climate change action in Australia and philanthropy’s role in this has never been more important, according to a new report.
The Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network’s (AEGN) climate briefing said there were many opportunities for philanthropists to lead or join coordinated and decisive action to address climate change.
The report noted the window of opportunity for keeping global warming below 1.5°C was closing rapidly, making it essential urgent action was taken.
AEGN CEO Amanda Martin told Pro Bono News philanthropy’s role in tackling climate change has never been more important, and said foundations of all different types could apply a “climate lens” to their grantmaking.
She said philanthropy was in a special position because it was independent and not beholden to the electoral cycle or shareholders.
“This means it can operate with a flexibility that is currently required regarding climate change,” Martin said.
“And of course it can help via giving funds away, but I also think given the influential position of many philanthropists in Australia that this influence can help raise public consciousness on the issue.”
Martin said AEGN had really noticed a significant shift towards philanthropy funding climate change action over the last 10 years, but there was a need for the sector to step up even more over the coming decade.
“We’ve got this window of opportunity to make a difference,” Martin said.
“In some ways it’s exciting, because it’s rare in our lives when we can really achieve global change that will influence the future of our planet.
“And if philanthropy can work together, it can achieve a lot more than working alone. So many of our members have co-funded projects through our climate change funds network and realised the difference this can make.”
The report also said despite the federal government’s pledge under the Paris agreement, there was strong evidence that Australia’s action on climate change was not enough to meet the nation’s fair share of global emissions reductions.
Martin said the government has shown an incredible lack of political leadership on the issue, noting their recent rejection of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s call to phase out coal power by 2050.
“The government needs to play a leadership role where it accepts climate change is real and puts in place legal and financial arrangements to encourage the renewable energy sector and start that transition away from using fossil fuels,” she said.