Arresting Global Climate Change for $800 Million A Year?
With its recent report on how foundations can help fight global climate change, Taking Action on Climate Change, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation set out to define not only which specific programs and policies would have the the highest impact in keeping global climate change below 2 degrees, but also put a price tag on it -- $800 million per year for six years.
The report itself does not give the price tag but I've been told that there is excitement within the organization that it is possible to define the amount of money it would take to solve the problem, and some reason to be hopeful that foundations would join together to pursue some of the report's recommendations.
As reported in a recent newsletter from Jane Wales, the new head of the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program at The Aspen Institute, the report recommends that "philanthropy help establish a national lobby for energy research and development, something that doesn’t exist at the moment. More specifically, foundations should focus on the "pinch points" in the energy policy system - working to improve building codes, utility regulations and auto fuel-efficiency standards."
If there is one social issue that each foundation and large donor cannot afford to reinvent the wheel on, due to the levels of expertise needed and the dollar figures involved, global climate change is it.
The philanthropic sector, foundations and donors alike, should now grapple with these big questions and more: Can we agree on a set of recommendations and pool our efforts? Are these the right recommendations (implicitly, how many additional six-figure, consultant-driven reports will be funded and re-funded before we reach a consensus)? Is the dollar amount right? Who will ante up? How do we know if we've made a difference?