Climate change

A low carbon world will help secure a healthy and prosperous future for children.

Grant Portfolio

Climate change poses the single biggest threat to the future of today’s children.

Science tells us that climate security requires the global economy to be largely free of carbon pollution by 2050.

To secure a healthy and sustainable future for children, we support the urgent global transition to a zero-carbon society underpinned by a bio-material-based sustainable economy. Providing a climate-safe future promises multiple benefits today such as cleaner air, energy security and sustainable jobs, along with smart stewardship of the planet’s resources.

To achieve this, we want to take carbon out of the power sector by phasing out coal and increasing the uptake of renewables worldwide. We also want to help ramp up decarbonisation strategies in energy-intensive industries and support large-scale land restoration efforts. We work at city, sub-national, national and global levels to achieve these goals.

We are committed to working with all economic actors to speed up and scale up climate action to achieve the global transformation required to keep global warming below 1.5C.

Take a look at the video to hear our co-founder Sir Christopher Hohn and others discuss the important role philanthropy can play in slowing climate change.


The world’s energy systems are still dominated by fossil fuels.

To achieve a climate-safe future, the power sector needs to be fully decarbonised by 2040. As new renewable energy is now affordable and providing up to a quarter of electricity in some places, the transition to clean energy is already underway.

We are working to accelerate progress by preparing energy systems for even higher rates of renewables penetration, while stopping the building of new coal capacity and introducing carbon pricing.

Our grants in this area include programmes related to carbon pricing in China, using strategic litigation to accelerate the transition to low-carbon living in Europe and developing mitigation action plans in Latin America.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

HFCs are the most potent greenhouse gases and, unlike other gases, they are man-made chemicals that we can simply replace with less harmful alternatives in air-conditioning, refrigeration, foams and other applications.

We are working towards a global phase-down of HFCs, having secured an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, along with strong domestic regulation in major producing and consuming countries. To complement this work, we launched an air conditioning programme to maximise energy efficiency savings achieved during a phase down of HFCs and achieve a double climate win.

Since 2009, we have committed more than $26 million to the global phase-down of HFCs.

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The world is rapidly urbanising. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. The number of cities with more than ten million inhabitants, so-called megacities, is forecast to double by 2030.

If cities continue to sprawl as they grow, citizens will be locked into carbon and resource intensive lifestyles. Around 75% of all energy is already consumed in cities.

We want to harness the potential of energy efficiency. We are working with mayors – those on the frontline of the battle against climate change – to address coal consumption and provide renewable energy. This includes an emphasis on energy efficiency in air conditioning systems, which are primarily used in urban settings.

Our programme on sustainable cities in China will contribute to achieving the abatement potential of around 318 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in 2030.

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Air quality

Around 300 million children currently live in areas where the air is toxic – where the air they breathe exceeds international limits by at least six fold. This puts the poorest and most vulnerable children at the greatest risk.

But children aren’t the only ones to suffer from poor air quality. Reducing air pollution can help grow economies and combat climate change.

We support the reduction of coal use in energy systems, the implementation of vehicle emission standards and support for clean energy in cities, and the improvement of agricultural practices in the vicinity of urban centres.

By investing in public mobilisation, strategic litigation, environmental regulation and compliance with international standards, we hope to support megacities to get themselves on track to ensuring their children have clean, safe air to breathe.

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Industrial decarbonisation

Industries – including cement, steel and the petrochemicals sector – are responsible for nearly one quarter of global emissions. They must decarbonise as a matter of priority.

The rise of populist movements around the world is making it harder to convince skeptical boardrooms to embrace climate action. Despite this fact, we believe decarbonisation in the long term is possible.

To help make this a reality, we focus on areas such as industrial carbon performance regulation, heating and cooling legislation, deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies, enforcement through carbon disclosure, and investor engagement and litigation. We also want to see carbon pricing used intelligently to promote competitiveness of industries, contributing to a zero-carbon society.

Our funding on industrial decarbonisation is focused in Europe and China. By 2020, we expect Europe to be on track to achieving the 83-87% deep decarbonisation target set by the European Commission. We expect China to be on track to decarbonising its industrial sector by 2050.

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Unsustainable land use practices release carbon into the atmosphere as forests and soils are damaged or destroyed to meet global demand for food, fibre and fuel.

We want to accelerate biological carbon capture and storage globally. We will do this by supporting key leaders who are committed to restoring 350 million hectares of land by 2030 as part of the New York Declaration on Forests.

Our aim is for Brazil to have restored 12 million hectares of forest by 2023, in line with the country’s Paris commitment.

We want to use Brazil as a springboard and case study for others around the world, scaling up technical assistance, and encouraging policies that will reduce investment risks for restoration initiatives. We want to help develop investment-grade business models that can attract mainstream private sector funding to accelerate restoration initiatives.

Our grant with the Climate Policy Initiative and Agroicone is working to create the enabling conditions for the implementation of Brazil’s Forest Code in an enforceable and economically viable way, contributing to the achievement of net zero deforestation by 2020.


Current multi-year investments can be explored below.

To learn more about closed grants, use our grant portfolio tool.