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The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident around the globe. Longer droughts, rising sea levels, and more frequent natural disasters impact countless people and communities. These events oftentimes more greatly affect populations who contribute least to environmental change or those with fewer resources available to mitigate the damage it causes to their communities. This collection examines the ways climate change affects vulnerable communities and populations and brings together knowledge and insights that highlight the impact foundations and nonprofits are having in addressing it.

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Featured

Winning on Climate Change: How Philanthropy Can Spur Major Progress over the Next Decade

August 17, 2023

Over the next 10 years, major progress against climate change is entirely possible, and philanthropy has an important role to play. Through interviews with experts and building on previous work with actors in the field, this report identifies three climate philanthropy practices that will be especially important in the decade ahead. 

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Data Science for Water Justice: Climate Change and Drought in the Colorado River Basin

April 18, 2023

Climate change threatens the hydrological cycle the globe over, increasing the likelihood of extreme events and dramatically altered ecosystems. The impacts of these events are most felt by those least able to adapt or move away from them. This paper uses a global framework to identify key data science engagement points, and illustrates these points in the case of the Colorado River Basin (CRB), a social-ecological system that provides a case study emblematic of many climate change accelerated water justice challenges.

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The Power to Win: Black, Latiné, and Working Class Community Organizing on the Climate Crisis

March 20, 2023

After decades of warnings from scientists and activists, the climate crisis is no longer a prognosis of what is to come, it is the definitive reality of our world. In the last 50 years, global carbon emissions have risen by 90%, and this past April marked the highest recorded levels of CO2 in human history.Our use of fossil fuels is costing us our lives. Each year, we are experiencing the rapidly increasing effects of this industry-caused crisis: intense droughts and heatwaves, stronger and more frequent hurricanes, increased flooding from risingseas, blazing wildfires, and more.While corporations and the wealthy are responsible for the continued production of the carbon emissions that drive climate change, Black, Indigenous, Latiné, low-income communities, and the global south —the people who have the lowest carbon footprint—are the most impacted by the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Black people, in particular, are 75% more likely than white people to reside near incinerators, coal power stations, or in low-lying areas at risk of flooding.Because of historic environmental racism, disinvestment, poor infrastructure, and lack of resources, these communities are far less equipped to prepare for and recover from climate disasters, placing them at far greater risk of the multitude of traumas that climate disasters unleash. Accordingly, these communities are also on the frontlines of the very work needed to transform the crisis. As the largest network of grassroots organizations in the US, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and our 48 affiliates play a vital role in building the power necessary to tackle the climate crisis. CPD's affiliate organizations are based in the very Black, Latiné, and low-income communities that are most disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. For nearly a decade, the community organizations of the CPD network have fought for and won significant change at the federal, state, and local levels—all while being significantly under-resourced for this work.

Climate Change: A series of Case Studies on South African Funder's Climate Journeys

February 5, 2024

Climate change is an increasingly pressing global issue that requires an immediate and concerted response to limit its most catastrophic consequences. Funders can play a key role in responding to climate change, however, funder responses to climate change have historically been relatively limited.That said, more funders are beginning to acknowledge the urgency with which climate change needs to be addressed and are increasingly seeing the impacts that climate change has on the often vulnerable communities that they serve. These climate change impacts have further implications for funders' work on other socio-economic challenges, with the communities that they serve facing additional challenges relating to food security, water scarcity, environmental damage, and heat waves.

Philanthropic Foundation Funding for Clean Air: Advancing climate action, health and social justice

January 15, 2024

An analysis of funding from philanthropic foundations to tackle air pollution between 2015 and 2022. We identify funding trends, gaps and opportunities for philanthropies to maximise the benefits of their investments.

Climate Change in the American Mind: Beliefs & Attitudes, Fall 2023

January 10, 2024

This report is based on findings from a nationally representative survey – Climate Change in the American Mind – conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Interview dates: October 20 – 26, 2023. Interviews: 1,033 adults (18+). Average margin of error: +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Concern for Climate Change Directly Informs Youth Civic Engagement

December 14, 2023

In December 2023, nations from around the world gathered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). The climate issue has been a central concern of young activists and voters in recent years, and ranked among the top 5 issues for youth in the months leading up to COP28.Youth concern about climate presents an important opportunity to engage a diverse group of youth and support their leadership. However, we need to better understand the relationships different youth have to the issue and how their distinct attitudes and experiences, as well as differences in their backgrounds and access to resources, shape what it takes to involve them in meaningful action.This report, based on new data from CIRCLE's nationally representative survey of young people (ages 18-34) ahead of the 2024 election, examined patterns in young people's relationship to climate change in order to inform how organizations communicate with and reach youth with an understanding of how different youth approach this critical global issue. Our analysis identified four groups of youth whose connection—or lack thereof—to the climate issue can influence future efforts to engage them.

Beyond Compliance: Preliminary Findings from an Investigation of Climate and Flooding Data Systems in the United States

December 6, 2023

Government agencies and researchers in the United States have collected and shared environmental and climate data for decades in an effort to understand how climate change is impacting our communities, infrastructures, industries, and ecosystems. Much of this data is open in theory; many datasets maintained by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are required to make their data publicly available and usable.But large gaps in available data and granularity issues prevent meaningful public use. Other sources—municipal governments, university researchers, and community data collection projects—can help fill data gaps. Still, these sources face their own challenges, such as unclear licensing agreements, limited resources or technical capacity, as well as equity concerns (including data collection procedures that result in poorer quality data regarding low income neighborhoods).Modernizing this data infrastructure, as well as channels for integrating information from different sources, can support actors both within and outside of government to use this wealth of data for a variety of purposes.As part of the larger Beyond Compliance initiative, which aims to make government-derived environmental data more accessible and usable to a diversity of users and for a range of purposes, we are investigating challenges and opportunities related to data in the context of climate change resilience and adaptation planning.

How climate risk data can help communities become more resilient: Insights from San Diego

December 4, 2023

Governments at all levels have a responsibility to help communities adapt to increasing climate risks. Local governments are on the front lines, as they regulate and incentivize the location of new housing and commercial development, develop and operate transportation and water infrastructure, and oversee emergency preparedness and response. The rapidly growing field of climate analytics can help local governments adopt a more proactive approach by identifying risks, developing climate action plans, and implementing strategies that limit the harms of both chronic and acute climate stresses, from intense storms to wildfires to extreme heat.The goal of this project is to illustrate how local governments can use geographically granular climate risk data to map local hazards and plan community-based adaptation strategies, while highlighting some of the challenges in working with this data. We also discuss areas where regional, state, and federal agencies can support their local colleagues in these efforts. This analysis is intended to be useful for local governments—including elected officials and career staff—as well as utilities, regional planning agencies, private sector firms, and civic organizations engaged with built environment planning.To illustrate the potential uses and challenges of geographically granular climate risk information, we analyze data created by First Street Foundation that measures heat, wildfire, and flood risk. Focusing on the city of San Diego, we create risk maps at several levels of geography—city, neighborhood, and parcel—to illustrate how risk varies across geography, over time, and by climate risk category. These metrics primarily capture physical risk; when possible, we look at overlaps with social and economic characteristics that affect community vulnerability. Case studies of three neighborhoods with particularly high risks show the usefulness—and some cautions—of parcel-level analysis.

From Pollution to Solution in Six African Cities

November 23, 2023

Air pollution is Africa's silent killer. Each year, air pollution kills more Africans than HIV / AIDS and malaria combined. In addition to the 1 million Africans who die from diseases caused by indoor and outdoor sources of air pollution annually, millions more have to live with its devastating consequences. This problem is worse in cities, where highly polluting activities stunt the health of both their residents and economies. Analysis undertaken for the Clean Air Fund by Dalberg Advisors finds that left unchecked, air pollution will collectively cost Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Yaoundé an estimated US$138bn in premature deaths and worker absenteeism by 2040, equivalent to 8% of their current combined GDPs.The continent's rapid urban growth should not come at the expense of the health of its citizens. African cities can choose to put themselves on the path of green growth, in which investments to tackle the major sources of air pollution bring about benefits to worker productivity, national health budgets and help create healthy, equitable and prosperous places to live. African governments are increasingly aware of this challenge. The Africa Integrated Assessment outlines the steps needed to reach green growth, but realising this blueprint for Africa requires more comprehensive, coordinated and scaled action. This analysis shows that across the six case study cities, actions taken today could prevent 109,000 premature deaths and prevent the loss of US$19bn by 2040.Drawing on best-practice case studies from across the African continent, this policy brief lays out recommendations that can help governments unleash green urban economic growth. Investments in good governance and legislation, better air quality monitoring, evidence-based emission reduction policies, effective partnership models and training, and improved access to climate financing are essential to meeting this challenge. These recommendations represent the first step for governments to consider as they design and deliver locally-tailored action.

Funding trends 2023: Climate change mitigation philanthropy

November 8, 2023

In 2022, the amount of philanthropic funding for climate change mitigation remained essentially unchanged from the previous year — a slowdown from the consistent growth we saw in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Climate giving showed some resilience in 2022 despite challenging global economic conditions, but ultimately fell short of the scale needed to address the crisis. In this decisive moment for the planet, philanthropy must rapidly raise its ambition for advancing transformative climate solutions — in partnership with a wider range of communities, movements, and organizations — and move more funds faster to the places that need them most.

Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2023

November 2, 2023

Average annual climate finance flows reached almost USD 1.3 trillion in 2021/2022, nearly doubling compared to 2019/2020 levels. This increase was primarily driven by a significant acceleration in mitigation finance (up by USD 439 billion from 2019/2020). The remainder of the growth observed in 2021/2022 (USD 173 billion each year) stems from methodological improvements and new data sources, which augment the flows tracked in 2019/2020. Without these data improvements, annual finance flows in 2021/2022 would have amounted to just below USD 1.1 trillion.Despite the growth in 2021/2022, current flows represent about only 1% of global GDP.